Emily Nishikawa, Dahria Beatty and Knute Johnsgaard, seen here at the 2013 Yukon Cross-Country Ski Championships, were named to the Olympic cross-country skiing team. (Tom Patrick/Yukon News file)

Three Whitehorse skiers named to Olympic team

‘I’m racing at the Olympic Games! My mom will be there watching. It’s already a personal success’

The Canadian Olympic Committee announced the 11 athletes who will compete in cross-country skiing next month in Pyeongchang at the Olympic Winter Games and three hail from Whitehorse.

Knute Johnsgaard, Dahria Beatty and Emily Nishikawa were all named to the team, the COC announced in a press release Jan. 29.

The three skiers earned their places based on World Cup results over the last two years.

Johnsgaard was part of a bronze-medal-winning Canadian men’s relay team last season, meaning a trip to South Korea has been in the cards for a while.

“Excitement is starting to build. I always imagined qualifying for the Olympics would comes as a result of a stressful trials race and getting a phone call two weeks out from the Games,” said Johnsgaard. “Instead, I learned over a year ago now I’d be on the team. The initial excitement had oddly worn off, as the Games seemed so far away. Now, as they’re just around the corner and the full team has been named, it’s definitely becoming more real.”

Asked what would make the Games a success, Johnsgaard had a simple answer.

“I’m racing at the Olympic Games! My mom will be there watching. It’s already a personal success,” said Johnsgaard.

Nishikawa, a veteran of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, said being named to the team for the second time is an honour, and that her plan is to perform at her very best.

“If I have that type of performance I will be so happy,” said Nishikawa. “No matter where I end up on the results list, it will be a success in my eyes.”

Both Nishikawa and Johnsgaard said the support they receive from the community is special.

“We have so much support from our community and it is something I am very grateful for as I head to my second Olympics,” said Nishikawa.

Johnsgaard said he was “humbled” to be an Olympian and thankful for the support from home.

In the press release, Beatty said her selection has been a life-long goal.

“It is an absolute dream come true to be selected for my first Olympic Games,” she said. “It has been a goal of mine ever since I was a little kid racing. Now that it is finally a reality, I am excited to make the most of the Olympic atmosphere and race my heart out for Canada.”

Other skiers named to the team were Alex Harvey, Devon Kershaw, Lenny Valjas, Jesse Cockney, Graeme Killick, Cendrine Browne, Anne-Marie Comeau and Russell Kennedy.

Harvey, fresh off a silver medal at the latest World Cup event in Seefeld, Austria, said the makeup of the team is a balance of youth and experience.

“We are coming into these Games with a lot of confidence and momentum. We have a good mix of veterans and first time Olympians,” Harvey said in the press release. “Hopefully the girls and young guys can take it all in and learn from us.”

Canada has won three Olympic medals in cross-country skiing — a gold in 2002, and a gold and silver in 2006.

The 2018 Winter Olympic Games will take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Feb. 9-25.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopinshill@yukon-news.com

cross country skiingPyeongchang OlympicsTeam Canada

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Zoning amendment approved for Black Street property

Bylaw change will allow suite to be built over existing garage despite side, rear setbacks

Yukon borders to reopen July 1, masks required at all Yukon airports

Yukon moves to Phase 2 of reopening on July 1

Runners race Reckless Raven

Nearly 60 Yukoners completed the fourth annual Reckless Raven 50-mile Ultra and… Continue reading

Local gardener asks for return of wagons

Alice Cyr grows vegetables for her condo, but has had two wagons stolen in the last two weeks

YukonU instructor pens letter urging immediate action to address systemic racism

A Yukon First Nations instructor at Yukon University has penned a letter… Continue reading

Ancient lake bed sediments, unusual plants are markers of the Takhini salt flats

It’s one of the Yukon’s best open geological secrets, a well-known but… Continue reading

Yukon University hires director of finance

Yukon University announced in a press release on June 29 that Sheila… Continue reading

Diamond Tooth Gerties to reopen

The Klondike Visitors Association (KVA) announced in a press release on June… Continue reading

Newly-elected Liard First Nation chief accuses YG of interfering with election

Stephen Charlie says YG’s announcement days before election endorsed previous chief

COMMENTARY: Shifting the prevailing narrative of substance use

Blood Ties Four Directions Centre Special to the News Rarely does society… Continue reading

Alexco nearing production at Keno Hill mines

Alexco Resource Corp. is entering the final phase of development at its… Continue reading

Literacy award nomination deadline approaching

Nominations for the 2020 Council of the Federal Literacy Award will remain… Continue reading

City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read