Team Yukon will become Team Canada for one Olympic event.
Dahria Beatty, in her first Games, and Olympic veteran Emily Nishikawa will be the two women skiers for Canada in the cross-country team sprint event that starts midnight Yukon time.
The two athletes took to Twitter yesterday to announce the news and thank everyone back in the Yukon.
In a video posted on the Canada Olympic House Twitter page, Beatty said she was looking forward to race at the Games one last time.
“Thanks Whitehorse, thanks Yukon for all the cheering,” she said. “We’re really excited to race one last time in the sprint on Wednesday together for the Yukon and for Canada. Looking forward to racing for you guys.”
The Canadian women’s ski team has four members, and Nishikawa and Beatty were the two selected to race in the free sprint.
Nishikawa will run the first leg with Beatty on the anchor leg for Canada in their semifinal.
If the duo qualifies out of the semifinal, the final is scheduled for 2 a.m. Yukon time Wednesday.
The last race for the skiers was another team event in the relay.
Beatty and Nishikawa completed the first two classic legs of the race with Canada finishing 13th out of the 14 teams.
In the first leg, Beatty was 13th overall with Nishikawa skiing to the 10th best time in her leg of the race.
After hearing the news for the team sprint, Yukon ski team head coach Alain Masson said this is a once in a lifetime achievement for Yukon athletes.
“It’s not going to happen in a long, long time,” Masson said. “The odds are small on that one.”
With the late start for the race, Masson said he is going to tape it and stay disconnected until he can watch it in the morning.
“I think I’m going to tape it and not open my phone. Just watch it in the morning,” he said.
Even with the 15-hour time difference between Whitehorse and South Korea, the support level has been high in the Yukon since the start of the Games.
Cutouts of the Olympians have been making their way around the city to show support, t-shirts are on full display with the profits going directly to the athletes and the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club has hosted race viewing events to watch the races as a group.
On Sunday morning, eager supports gathered in the chalet to watch a replay of the men’s relay race with Whitehorse skier Knute Johnsgaard racing the anchor leg.
Johnsgaard was selected to race the final free leg of the relay after top Canadian skier Alex Harvey decided not to compete a day before the race.
He placed 10th overall in his leg with Canada coming in ninth place out of the 14 teams.
The result tied for Canada’s second-best Olympic relay result behind the 2010 Games.
The viewing parties have attracted national attention with the CBC in attendance. It’s expected to air coverage of the ski club viewings during the national Olympic programming.
The third and final viewing party will be held Friday at 9 p.m. to watch the men’s 50-km race live.