Yukon North Of Ordinary

Sports archive for February 27, 2014

Yukon’s Nishikawa motivated by Olympic experience

The territory’s first winter Olympian in 22 years spoke with the Star this morning about her experience at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.

By Marcel Vander Wier on February 27, 2014 at 3:04 pm

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Photo submitted

TAGGING UP – Whitehorse cross-country skier Emily Nishikawa, right, tags fellow Canadian Brittany Webster in the 4x5-km relay at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Nishikawa, 24, finished her leg in 13:27.3, the quickest on the team. Photo courtesy BOB NISHIKAWA

The territory’s first winter Olympian in 22 years spoke with the Star this morning about her experience at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.

Emily Nishikawa, 24, has returned to Canmore, Alta., where she is training for the 2014 Haywood Ski Nationals in Cornerbrook, Nfld., scheduled for March 15 to 22.

The conversation went as follows:

Q. Is there one race that stood out to you above the rest?

A. The first race I did, the pursuit, was really memorable. Standing at the start line of my first Olympic race was a pretty special moment, and then I had a really great race. I could also hear my parents cheering for me. It was amazing to have them there. So I think that race will stick out the most for me.

Q. What was the experience like in terms of the athlete’s village, food, culture?

A. It was really cool. Our women’s team and all the staff weren’t actually staying in the village, but we were there basically all the time. The Endurance Village for biathlon and cross-country was amazing. The setting was quite spectacular. There was a spa and a gym. Everything was really nice and we definitely enjoyed the spa a couple of times. The Canadian biathletes were there, so it was nice to hang out with them, and also just meet the other skiers and biathletes from the other countries.

Q. What was the highlight of your Olympic Games?

A. It’s really hard to pick just one highlight. The race was huge. Having my parents there was amazing. Attending the closing ceremonies is a memory I will have forever. I can’t really pick just one.

Q. What did it mean to you to represent Canada at the highest level?

A. It was such an honour. I was very proud to be a member of the Canadian team and be alongside some amazing athletes. It’s a huge honour to have that privilege. I was just thrilled with my whole experience.

Q. Did you take time to attend any other Olympic events?

A. I watched some speedskating, but it was hard, because we were quite far away from everything. It was fun to meet the rest of the Canadian team at the closing ceremonies and afterwards.

Q. Did you feel any of the political tension in Russia as an athlete competing in Sochi?

A. No, not at all. In every Olympics, there’s political stuff going on. We’re there to compete and represent our country, so I tried not to get involved and distracted by all that. It’s unfortunate that there’s always that type of stuff going on.

Q. What are your thoughts on your older brother Graham Nishikawa’s inclusion on the Canadian Paralympic team as a guide?

A. It’s a good opportunity for him. I think he’s pretty excited to go and help out as much as he can. He’ll be guiding Robbi Weldon, a blind skier. I think he’s very excited to help her as best he can to reach her goals, so he’s working for someone else now to help them reach the highest level that they can be. I think he’s really thrilled for the opportunity. It’s a change of pace for him, and he’s a great guy to have around. He’s got lots of experience racing so he’ll be a good asset for the Paralympic team.

Q. How will your Olympic experience change you as an athlete and person?

A. That’s a good question. I haven’t thought of that at all. I don’t feel like I’m a different person or anything. I’ll try not to have this change me too much, but if I can use my status as an Olympian to help people, that’s great. I would love to do that and inspire the next generation of kids, especially in the Yukon. If that helps anyone, or inspires anyone, I’d be
thrilled about that.

Q. Is competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea a new goal for you?

A. Totally. This was an incredible experience and I’m very motivated and inspired to keep going and get to that next level that I want to be at. It’s inspiring to see the top girls compete and just how fast they are, and also very motivating to get back out there and improve on my performances at this Olympics.

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