11 athletes nominated to historic men’s and women’s teams
CANMORE, Alberta — Cross Country Canada announced today the men and women officially nominated onto the Sochi 2014 Canadian Olympic Cross Country Skiing Team.
The six men: Alex Harvey (St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Quebec); Devon Kershaw (Sudbury, Ontario); Ivan Babikov (Canmore, Alberta); Graeme Killick (Fort McMurray, Alberta); Jesse Cockney (Canmore, Alberta); and Lenny Valjas (Toronto, Ontario); and five women: Chandra Crawford (Canmore, Alberta); Daria Gaiazova (Banff, Alberta); Heidi Widmer (Banff, Alberta); Emily Nishikawa (Whitehorse, Yukon); and Perianne Jones (Almonte, Ontario) were nominated during an announcement at Altadore School in Calgary.
Canada is set to send one of its most talented teams of cross-country skiers of yet to the start line with a focus on contributing to the nation’s medal count at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. For the first time ever, Canada qualified a core group of seven veterans – six of them Olympians who have all won medals on the World Cup circuit over the last four years. Each of these athletes qualified based on their World Cup results over the last two years.
“This is a medal-winning team that has evolved from a group of talented athletes excited to be on the start line into a group of determined high-performers focused on winning, and confident in their ability to achieve podium results,” said Tom Holland, High-Performance Director, Cross Country Canada.
The final four athletes including Graeme Killick, Jesse Cockney, Heidi Widmer and Emily Nishikawa, earned the last four spots to round out the Canadian Olympic Cross-Country Ski Team following Cross Country Canada’s Olympic Trials held last week in Canmore, Alberta.
“Depth is critical towards mounting an attack on the podium in any sport, and we have seen through the development of our elite program, that our women are hungry to win another medal at the Games, while us guys are now racing to win the country’s first-ever Olympic medal,” said Devon Kershaw, who was the first Canadian male along with Alex Harvey to win a gold medal at the World Championships.
“Our cross-country skiers have been training ferociously with unmatched dedication in order to be at the top of their game as we head into Sochi,” said Marcel Aubut, President, Canadian Olympic Committee. “On behalf of the COC, I congratulate all 11 of our phenomenal cross-country skiing athletes – your country will certainly be cheering you on as you take to the snow in Russia.”
The athletes were officially introduced by seven lucky Calgary kids in front of more than 270 of their fellow students that painted the gym red with clothing at Altadore School. After being introduced, the athletes led by Cross Country Canada`s official mascot, Klister, took the kids along with the school’s teachers and officials from the COC and Cross Country Canada to the playground where they competed in a fun relay race.
Ski tracks were set in the Altadore schoolyard for the students who are currently enjoying a week of introductory cross-country ski instruction courtesy of the Foothills Nordic Ski at School program – a local initiative to deliver cross-country skiing opportunities to students in Calgary area schools each winter.
“What pride we will feel as a country watching our talented athletes representing Canada at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi,” said Joan Crockatt, Member of Parliament (Calgary-Centre). “With your talent and determination, you will have us holding our breath as you outdo yourselves facing some of the world’s greatest cross-country skiers. We are very proud of you! Best of luck with final preparations and good luck!”
Led by Beckie Scott’s first-ever medal for Canada in the sport of cross-country skiing at the 2002 Olympics when she skied to the gold, Canada has three Olympic medals in total. Scott also won a silver in the team sprint with Sara Renner in 2006 – the same year Chandra Crawford won the gold medal in the skate-sprint race.
The Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games will take place from February 7-23, 2014. The Canadian Olympic Team has set a goal to contend for the top spot in overall medals won.
List of cross-country ski athletes nominated to the Sochi 2014 Canadian Olympic Team:
|Graeme||Killick||Fort MacMurray, AB|
These 11 cross-country skiers now join 10 speed skaters, 10 Curling athletes, 16 bobsledders, seven lugers, four skeleton athletes, 21 women hockey players, eight biathletes, five snowboarders, 25 men hockey players, three skiers and 17 figure skaters, as the next members on the Canadian Olympic Team. Up to seven more teams will be announced between now and February.
For more information visit www.olympic.ca.