Overseas skier

Shaylynn Loewen is heading to Europe to compete in the World U23 Championships in Vuokatti, Finland in February.

Three National Team Development Centre Thunder Bay athletes have been named to the teams representing Canada at international cross-country skiing events this January and February.

NTDC veterans Pierre Grall-Johnson and Graham Ritchie will be part of the Canadian contingent competing in period three World Cup races in Scandinavia later this month.

Ritchie and Grall-Johnson previously skied for Canada in World Cup races in 2019 and 2020.

Ritchie and Grall-Johnson then will be joined by NTDC teammate Shaylynn Loewen to represent Canada at the FIS U23 World Ski Championships in Vuokatti, Finland from Feb. 6-13.

This will be Loewen’s first time representing Canada internationally. She also had been named to the 2021 World University Games, however that event has been cancelled. Ritchie and Grall-Johnson both represented Canada at the 2020 U23 championships last season, with Ritchie scoring an impressive 13th place in the 15K classic race.

All three skiers also are fighting for the right to represent Canada at the 2021 World Ski Championships to be held in Obertsdorf, Germany, with that team being named based on top results at the World Cup and U23 championships.

NTDC alumni Katherine Stewart-Jones and Annika Richardson also have been named to the World Cup and U23 teams, respectively.

Canadian Nordic skiers did not travel to Europe for period one and two FIS competitions, but athletes have been hard at work preparing.

Nordiq Canada high performance director Kate Boyd says that Canada is focused on maximizing Canada’s Olympic and FIS nations’ ranking through participation in select international events, while managing risks associated with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.