Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

HOMETOWN SUPPORT – Students and staff of Grey Mountain Primary School pose with the cutouts of the Yukon Olym pic skiers Monday afternoon. The cutouts are making their rounds across Whitehorse in support of the skiers.

Nishikawa, Beatty top Canadians in 10-km race

Whitehorse athletes were on the international stage again late Wednesday night with Emily Nishikawa and Dahria Beatty competing in the women’s 10-km free cross-country ski race.

By Dustin Cook on February 15, 2018

Whitehorse athletes were on the international stage again late Wednesday night with Emily Nishikawa and Dahria Beatty competing in the women’s 10-km free cross-country ski race.

One of her better disciplines, Nishikawa finished in 32nd place out of the 90 competitors in the Olympic event. Beatty placed 37th, just seven seconds back.

“I think it was good races for both of them,” Yukon ski team head coach Alain Masson said this morning. “I heard Emily on the radio saying she was very happy, it was a good performance.”

It was the third race of these Games for both athletes and the highest place finish for both.

Masson said it was also a great performance for Beatty who struggled in the sprint classic race Tuesday, which was one of her better events on the World Cup circuit.

With the time difference between Whitehorse and Pyeongchang, many of the events are in the wee hours of the morning, but yesterday’s race had an early morning start putting the race at 10:30 p.m. in Whitehorse.

Although the television coverage focused on the top skiers for most of the race, Masson said it was great to see Nishikawa skiing behind top contender Jessica Diggins from the United States for a portion of the race.

It was also special to hear the commentators mention Whitehorse several times throughout the race when focusing on Nishikawa and Beatty, he said.

Next up for the women’s team is the four-person relay at 1:30 a.m. pacific time Saturday.

Then it is the team sprint where two competitors will compete on a team in a free technique race.

The two Canadian competitors have not yet been named, but there is a chance that both Whitehorse athletes will be chosen to race for Canada.

“That’d be awesome,” Masson said. “They both want to do that race for sure.”

The race is scheduled for Wednesday at midnight Whitehorse time.

On the men’s side, Whitehorse skier Knute Johnsgaard will be racing in the 15-kilometre free race tonight after not being chosen to race the sprint.

With seven Canadian male athletes, only four can compete in each event.

Masson said he heard a rumour Johnsgaard will be racing tonight and sent the Whitehorse racer an email and Johnsgaard confirmed.

“I’m very happy for him,” Masson said. “The sprint is probably where he could have done the best had he got a start. In the past that’s where he’s done very well.”

Johnsgaard had a difficult first race in the 30-km skiathlon finishing 62nd of 65 finishers.

The Whitehorse skier will be on the trails tonight for his second race of the Olympics at 10 p.m.

Even though the races are late at night, the excitement for the hometown racers has not faltered across Whitehorse.

Cutouts of the three Olympians and Paralympic guide Graham Nishikawa have been making their way across the city to show support.

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