World championships were ‘amazing’: Nishikawa

Whitehorse skiers Graham and Emily Nishikawa weren't in top form at the 2013 Nordic World Ski Championships last week in Val di Fiemme, Italy.

Whitehorse skiers Graham and Emily Nishikawa weren’t in top form at the 2013 Nordic World Ski Championships last week in Val di Fiemme, Italy.

But the chance to compete against the best at a world championships was a great experience, said Graham.

“It was amazing week for me,” he said. “I’m really tired right now, but it was an amazing experience. Some highs and lows.

“I’m just overall really happy.”

The Nishikawas finished the world championships with a pair of distance races over the weekend.

Skiing in unusually warm conditions at 11 Celsius, Emily was lapped out of the 30-kilometre classic on Saturday and did not finish.

Graham placed 48th out of 73 skiers in the 50-kilometre classic on Sunday.

“The 50-kilometre was the hardest race I’ve ever done,” said Graham.

Graham also placed 39th out of 95 skiers in the men’s 15-kilometre skate race on Feb. 27. The 29-year-old opened the championships with 52nd in the men’s 30-kilometre skiathlon on Feb. 23.

Both Nishikawas were sick going into the championships. But that’s sometimes the nature of the beast in a winter sport, with people travelling in from around the world for the event.

“It was a little disappointing to come in sick,” said Graham. “I am really happy with the skate race – 39th and 20 seconds from where my goal was. I was definitely strong there; I am happy with that race.

“But you can’t control getting sick. It happens. It’s been a long year with a lot of travel.

“But looking back, it was a really great experience. And it was cool that my sister was there, and my parents were able to come from Whitehorse to see us.”

The Nishikawas weren’t the only ones dealing with illness. So many Canadian skiers were under the weather by the end of the championships, Emily was the only Canadian in Saturday’s race.

Canada’s Brittany Webster was sidelined with illness Thursday, leaving Canada’s relay team a skier short for the women’s 4×5-kilometre relay. However, the remaining three, including Emily, raced without her for the heck of it.

The team was in the 12th spot when they had to withdraw from the event after three legs.

“Unfortunately our fourth skier, Brittany Webster, woke up sick this morning so we knew we would have to pull out after the third leg,” said Emily last week. “Even though we didn’t finish, Daria (Gaiazova), Perianne (Jones) and I all had solid races. Had we finished it would have been one of our best relay results in a long time. So it was a pretty positive day.”

In her previous races, Emily placed 57th in the sprint race on Feb. 21 and 57th in the 10-kilometre free on Feb. 26. She did not finish in the women’s 15-kilometre skiathlon on Feb. 23.

Graham is now home preparing for the Haywood Ski Nationals later this month in Whistler, B.C.

“Emily was able to keep her lead in the (Haywood) NorAms, so she’s staying over the World Cups,” said Graham. “There were races I missed, so that’s why I came home.

“I’m just going to focus on nationals and try to have a strong week.

“And then it’s on to next year, trying to qualify for the Olympics.”

Just making it to the world championships is a massive accomplishment achieved by very few Yukon skiers.

In fact, Graham is the first male skier from the Yukon to qualify for the world championships.

Emily, 23, is the first female from the territory to reach the worlds since Olympian Lucy Steele-Masson competed in 1997.

Quebec’s Alex Harvey made history in the men’s classic sprint race on Feb. 21. Harvey won bronze for the first-ever medal won by a Canadian male in an individual race, and just the third medal ever for Canada at the world championships.

Canada also had two fourth-place finishes at the championship. Alberta’s Ivan Babikov had one in the 15-kilometre free on Feb. 27, and Harvey and teammate Devon Kershaw teamed up for fourth in the duo team sprint on Feb. 24.

Contact Tom Patrick at

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

Just Posted

Connie Peggy Thorn, 52, pleaded guilty Jan. 27 to manslaughter in the 2017 death of Greg Dawson. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Whitehorse woman pleads guilty to manslaughter in death of Greg Dawson

Connie Thorn, 52, was arrested in October 2019 and pleaded guilty in Supreme Court on Jan. 27.

Abigail Jirousek, left, is tailed by Brian Horton while climbing a hill during the Cross Country Yukon January Classic in Whitehorse on Jan. 23. Jirousek finished second in the U16 girls category. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Cross Country Yukon hosts classic race

Cross Country Yukon hosted a classic technique cross-country ski race on Jan.… Continue reading

Yukon Premier Sandy Silver talks to media on March 5, 2020. The Yukon government said Jan. 25 that it is disappointed in a decision by the federal government to send the Kudz Ze Kayah mining project back to the drawing board. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Territorial and federal governments at odds over Kudz Ze Kayah mine project

The federal government, backed by Liard First Nation, sent the proposal back to the screening stage


Wyatt’s World for Jan. 27, 2021

Yukon RCMP said in a press release that they are seeing an increase in tinted front passenger windows and are reminding people that it is illegal and potentially dangerous. (RCMP handout)
RCMP warn against upward trend of tinted windows

Yukon RCMP are seeing more vehicles with tinted front passenger windows, prompting… Continue reading

An arrest warrant has been issued for a 22-year-old man facing two tickets violating the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em>. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Arrest warrant issued for CEMA violation

An arrest warrant has been issued for Ansh Dhawan over two tickets for violating CEMA

The office space at 151 Industrial Road in Marwell. At Whitehorse city council’s Jan. 25 meeting, members voted to sign off on the conditional use approval so Unit 6 at 151 Industrial Rd. can be used for office space. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Marwell move set for land and building services staff

Conditional use, lease approved for office space

The bus stop at the corner of Industrial and Jasper Road in Whitehorse on Jan. 25. The stop will be moved approximately 80 metres closer to Quartz Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Industrial Road bus stop to be relocated

The city has postponed the move indefinitely

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

Most Read