Skip to content

Dahria Beatty: Bow Valley's Beijing Bound Athletes

“It’s just been the biggest emotional roller coaster the last two years."

Dahria Beatty, cross-country skiing, top 15 world cup threat

Should Dahria Beatty pen an autobiography, one section ought be titled How I made the Olympics after everything went AWOL.

Seriously. It could be used as a blueprint for showing athletes of all levels the resilience of an Olympian’s stubborn will to get shit done.

It might seem weird for the badass athlete who’s been one of Canada’s prominent cross-country skiers for years and years, but the past two seasons – when COVID-19 hit and flipped the world on its head – have been too messy and chaotic for someone firmly into sticking to a plan and being in control over situations.

“It’s just been the biggest emotional roller coaster the last two years,” said Beatty. 

“Things have been changing so quickly, so it’s hard to keep a consistent mindset because as soon as you’re set in one way, everything gets torn out from underneath you and everything is going in different directions. That’s definitely been a challenge, one that has taken a lot of extra energy and we’ve all just been trying to cope with it as best as possible.”

As a result, Beatty’s skiing noticeably dipped – especially in sprint. She’s been salvaging the past two seasons with an emergence in distance skiing, earning world cup personal bests to keep things from being a total write off.

Beatty came through in a big way during Olympic Trials in January, her last chance to qualify for the Games, when she went “full tilt” in the 10 km classic to earn a spot on the Team Canada roster.

At destiny’s doorstep, Beijing has been Beatty’s drive for a decade. After moving to Canmore in 2012 from Whitehorse, Yukon, the 28-year-old’s tirelessly worked toward becoming the future of Canada’s sprint specialists and the heater at the world cup to look out for.

“A lot has happened in the last 10 years my career has evolved a lot,” said Beatty.

“I’ve had so many amazing racing experiences and seen a lot of change in my career. I went from the young new kid on block to one of the most experienced racers in Canada that are still competing.”

As a youngster, the natural athlete was in high demand by Yukon coaches. You’d need both hands to tick off all sports Beatty played really well at, and competed in national championships in basketball, soccer, orienteering, and, her personal favourite, skiing.

It wouldn’t be unordinary to find her breaking ankles on the basketball hardwood in the morning and commanding the frozen ski trails in the afternoon.

“I didn’t specialize in skiing at a young age. I did everything,” she said. “I’m a big advocate for not specializing too early in sport and doing as many sports as possible.”

At 15, she qualified to represent Canada at the world junior championships in Germany, which was a major turning point in her athletics. Showing what the Yukoner was made of, she finished 25th in the five kilometre class. Blessed with top 30 success on the world stage, the overjoyed teen craved more out of skiing.

“At that point it was when I’m going to go to the Olympics,” she said. “I know that’s a cocky thing to say, but everyone who makes it to the Olympics has to believe when not if because it’s a long hard path and I have a lot of things in life I have not attained, but I’ve always gone into them thinking when I attain them because that’s the only way you can truly put yourself in a position where you have chance.”

Driven by a fiery desire to represent Canada, the athlete from the cold north hopes the weeks leading in Beijing are as mentally important as they are physically.

The architect behind getting the whole women’s team into painting, Beatty takes time to decompress with the creative things in life such as writing for her blog, baking and painting and crafts.

“I managed to get the entire women’s team into painting. We now all bring little painting set ups with us on the road so it’s a good way to relax and relieve stress and I credit myself with that,” she said with a laugh.

“I’m hoping that with some good focus in the next couple weeks to get my sprinting where I know it can be and where it has been in the past going into the Games.”

Jordan Small

About the Author: Jordan Small

An award-winning reporter, Jordan Small has covered sports, the arts, and news in the Bow Valley since 2014. Originally from Barrie, Ont., Jordan has lived in Alberta since 2013.
Read more


push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks