Led by six Olympians, Cross Country Ski de fond Canada named 10 athletes who will compete at the 2019 FIS World Nordic Ski Championships in Seefeld, Austria.
Earning their coveted spots to represent Canada through the national body’s selection policy for competition trips, Cross Country Ski de fond Canada named a team of five women and five men who will bring the maple leaf to the start line in all races throughout the two-week Championships, February 19 – March 3.
Six athletes who represented Canada at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games will be looking to build on their international experience. Four-time World Championship medallist, Alex Harvey of St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., will lead the pack of Canucks into Austria. A winner of 30 World Cup medals, Harvey will be joined by men’s Olympic teammates, Lenny Valjas (Toronto), along with Russell Kennedy (Canmore, Alta.). Valjas is no stranger to the international podium, having racked up seven World Cup medals throughout his career. Kennedy, who guided Brian McKeever to the top of the Paralympic podium in PyeongChang after representing Canada at the 2018 Olympics, locked up his World Championship spot after winning the distance skate-ski race at the recent trials in Sherbrooke, Que. Harvey, Valjas and Kennedy will be joined by Evan Palmer-Charrette (Thunder Bay, Ont.), and Toronto’s Scott Hill. Palmer-Charrette won the men’s sprint race in Sherbrooke, Que., while Hill was first to cross the line in the classic-ski distance competition.
Three Canadian women, who also competed at the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, will join the field of elite cross-country skiers in Austria. Emily Nishikawa of Whitehorse, who is coming off a strong Tour de Ski where she placed 25th, will lead the women’s team. Nishikawa will be joined by fellow Olympians and 2017 World Championship teammates Dahria Beatty (Whitehorse) and Cendrine Browne (St-Jérôme, Que.). Katherine Stewart-Jones (Chelsea, Que.), was also named to the team after winning the women’s classic-ski distance race winner at the Trials. She will be hungry and looking to build on her international experience from the 2017 World Championships. Maya MacIsaac-Jones (Athabasca, Alta.) rounds out the women’s group. She punched her ticket to Austria after winning the women’s sprint race in Sherbrooke, Que.
“This strong group of athletes is focused on achieving excellence in Austria, and ultimately delivering season best performances,” said Nic Lemyre,” high-performance advisor, Cross Country Ski de fond Canada.
“This is a dynamic group of athletes who bring a mix of high-level performance and international experience with them to the start line. For a couple athletes their obvious focus is on delivering performances that puts them in contention for a podium, but this will also be a key measuring stick for our younger team members in their continued progression. These athletes have all worked hard to achieve this honour of representing Canada, and I know they will make the country proud.”