by Cross Country Nova Scotia, Staff, December 6, 2022
Emma Archibald Commits to Paralympic Stream
Provincial Ski Team athlete Emma Archibald has been named to the 2022-2023 Prospects Team; part of the Paralympic stream of the National Ski Team. Archibald met criteria as outlined in the Para Nordic Canada National Ski Team (PNST) Selection Criteria 2022-2023, and will be nominated to Sport Canada to receive AAP carding under the Para Nordic Athlete Assistance Program Selection Criteria 2022-23.
The objective of the Prospects Team is to develop U23 para-nordic athletes who are progressing along the national Podium Pathway and have demonstrated the potential to transition to the NextGen or higher level of the National Team. The four advancing levels of the National Team include : Prospects Team, NextGen Team, Development Team, and World Cup Team.
“When I was nominated to the Prospects Team, I was really excited, because it’s a new step in my skiing development and racing career,” said Archibald. “I’m keen to continue to move forward and see the work from the previous season pay off,” she added.
The Prospects Team provides tremendous support and training opportunities, which are invaluable for Archibald. She is a full-time student, completing her second year of a Bachelor of Science in nursing, at the University of Ottawa.
“The support they’ve given for US Nationals, includes travel logistics, on-site coaching support, waxing… it makes the decisions easy, allows me to focus on my training and racing. I don’t think I’d be going to US Nationals without their support.”
Archibald is a second-year athlete on the uOttawa GeeGees Nordic Ski Team, under the direction of head coach, Sheila Kealey. Emma has the honour of being Assistant Captain for her university team.
Emma is a pleasure to coach and a very dedicated athlete, and her skiing is progressing rapidly! She is doing a fantastic job at balancing nursing studies and high performance sport, inspiring many. She is a great teammate, making everyone feel welcome to the team. Emma is also an Assistant Captain and in this role helps guide the direction of the team.Sheila Kealey, Head Coach, uOttawa GeeGees Nordic Ski Team
As a Nova Scotia Provincial Team athlete since 2020, Emma is also supported by head coach Daniel Murray, and para-nordic coach Lilla Roy. Coach Roy has attended the national training camps to support Emma. The Prospects head coach Graham Nishikawa, further enriches the coaching expertise Archibald receives.
“Graham supports our coaches. Throughout the year when we’re not at races or training camps, he wants to make sure he gives our individual coaches the information they need to support us,” she added. “Graham helps support our yearly training plans, gives technique feedback, and supports racing opportunities.”
Graham Nishikawa, is an accomplished cross-country ski racer, who has represented Canada at the World Championships. Since 2014, Nishikawa has been a para-nordic guide for Canada’s most decorated Winter Paralympian, Brian McKeever; earning podium finishes at three Paralympic Winter Games and numerous Para-Nordic World Championships. As a senior national team athlete for 11 years, Nishikawa is now committed to coaching Para-Nordic’s NextGen and Prospects programs.
Nishikawa has positive feedback for Archibald’s progressive improvements in the sport.
“I am excited to see where Emma can go. Emma had a great training season. She made big improvements in her fitness and ski technique this summer and fall. All her hard work and hours of training certainly showed during the Para Nordic World Cup selection races here in Canmore in mid-November. Emma skied to her personal best against a world-class field. She made a huge improvement over last season. There is definitely more to come in the future for Emma.”
Emma is thriving in the high-level training environment and is paying close attention to biomarkers to maximize her training efforts. She has attended two national para-nordic training camps as a Prospects Team athlete this past summer and on-snow in November. Previously, she attended the 2020 and 2021 editions of the November training camps in Canmore.
“Reaching this next level of training, I am learning so much about my body, what it can handle, and how to train efficiently. For instance, I attended a training camp at the end of July in Whistler BC with some additional Prospects and NextGen Team athletes. In Whistler, we did some blood lactate testing on a treadmill and the results determined the range that our individual heart rates should be in for each training zone. Ensuring we are getting the most out of each workout’s goal.”Emma Archibald
In order to race internationally, Archibald is pursuing international classification as a no pole skier. The Prospects Team provides massive support in this area.
“Being a part of the Prospects team also has given me the opportunity to be internationally classified. So far, I am only nationally classified as a no pole skier (in the category LW5/7),” said Archibald. Emma was born with three fingers on each hand and is missing her big toes, due to amniotic band syndrome. “If I want to race internationally as a para-nordic skier, I need to be assessed by international classifiers at an international race. The Prospects team has given me the opportunity to race at US Nationals at the beginning of January  where international classifiers will be in attendance.”
Last spring, Archibald earned gold at 2022 Nationals, across all of her events; including the 5 km free technique Para Nordic Standing, 5 km classic Para Nordic standing, and 1 km classic sprint Para Nordic Standing. It was Archibald’s first time competing at the National level, learn more.
Emma’s home club in Nova Scotia is Scotia XC Ski Club.
Congratulations, Emma! All the best in your training, we admire your continued dedication to achieving excellence in our sport.