24220-Emily Young photo

Emily Young

Nordic Skiing


Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Impaired range of motion
Origin of Impairment

Further personal information

Husband Chris
Other names
Emily Weekes
Kelowna, BC, CAN
Higher education
Human Movement Studies - Douglas College: New Westminster, BC, CAN

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She took up Para cross-country skiing in late 2014.
Why this sport?
"I competed internationally in triathlon and wrestling, and skiing really isn't that different. Everything about competing is the same - the mental preparation, the focus, the execution. So it made it easier to move into a new sport because I've been involved in sport my whole life."
Club / Team
Sovereign Lake Nordic Club: Canada
Name of coach
Robin McKeever [national], CAN

General interest

Em (Instagram profile, 25 Dec 2020)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"I can't regret any moment or risk I've taken, because all of them have put me into this situation. Sport was an outlet for me, I knew how to control sport. No matter the sport, I knew it was a challenge. I strive for the lactic acid burn. It's a sick thing, but it's something that really honestly drives me." (, 04 Mar 2018)
Other sports
She represented Canada in both Para cross-country skiing and Para biathlon at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. Before her accident, she competed in wrestling and triathlon at international level. (, 27 Jun 2017;, 24 Feb 2015; SportsDeskOnline, 17 Dec 2021)
She has ulnar nerve damage in her right arm as the result of a wrestling training accident in 2009, which dislocated her elbow and separated her shoulder. She was originally right-handed, and over time she had to learn to use her left arm and hand. "I say I have one and a half arms. It's fully there but it's just half the length. It's just stuck, bent at 90 degrees. We call it the T-Rex arm." (, 03 Dec 2015;, 01 Dec 2017)
Other information
Despite the severity of her elbow injury in 2009 she initially continued wrestling, including at the Canada Games in 2009 and for more than half a year with the wrestling programme at Simon Fraser University. Eventually she realised she could no longer continue the sport, as her elbow would pop out of the joint every time she wrestled. She turned to cycling and running to cope with the frustration of not being able to wrestle. "I was trying to pursue the Olympics in wrestling but the stars didn't align. The joint was like held together with Silly Putty. It was so wiggly. No surgeon would do anything on me unless I stopped wrestling. I was just mad, and the outlet for my anger was to just go for a run. I was [also] biking, like four hours a day just watching everyone wrestle." She realised that if she learned to swim fast, she could transition to triathlon. She raced the Penticton Ironman in 2012, won her age category, and then competed at the 2012 Ironman World Championship in Hawaii, United States of America. But her arm could not hold up, and she required multiple further operations. "I was having a hard time holding my bike. I was running with one arm and swimming with one arm at that point, so I was kind of getting a little discouraged." One day while training, she met cross-country coach Jake Weaver of Hollyburn Cross Country Ski Club, whose family encouraged her into Para skiing. Three months after first trying the sport, she competed at the world championships. "It was really scary to step into the world championships that year [2015]. I had no idea how to ski. I was like, 'Um, how fast am I supposed to go?'" (, 04 Mar 2018)

She and her husband Chris run Young Family Farm in Kelowna, BC, Canada, where they produce fruit, vegetables, nuts and free-range eggs. She has also served as a mentor for Classroom Champions, a Canadian charity that connects school students with athletes. (Instagram profile, 19 Dec 2021, 07 Nov 2020;, 15 Mar 2020)

She has studied for a bachelor's degree in psychology, specialising in sport psychology. (, 15 Mar 2020)


Unit Date Rank
2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships Cable (Cable, United States of America)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Short Distance Standing Race 1 2015-01-24 12
Women's Long Distance - Free Style Standing Race 1 2015-01-25 8
Women's Sprint - Classic Standing Race 1 2015-01-28 10
Women's Long Distance Standing Race 1 2015-01-30 10
Women's Middle Distance - Classic Standing Race 1 2015-01-31 10
Mixed Relay Final 2015-02-01 4
2017 IPC Nordic skiing World Championships Finsterau, GER (Finsterau, Germany)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Middle Distance Standing Final 2017-02-11 10
Women's Sprint - Free Style Standing Final 2017-02-12 6
Open Relay Final 2017-02-15 3
Women's Long Distance - Classic Standing Final 2017-02-16 4
Women's Sprint Standing Final 2017-02-18 8
Women's Middle Distance - Free Style Standing Final 2017-02-19 7
Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games (Pyeongchang, South Korea)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 6km Standing Final 2018-03-10 7
Women's 15km Free Standing Final 2018-03-12 5
Women's 1.5km Sprint Classic Standing Final 2018-03-14 4
Women's 12.5km Standing Final 2018-03-16 7
Women's 7.5km Classic Standing Final 2018-03-17 3
4x2.5km Mixed Relay Final 2018-03-18 2
Prince George 2019 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships (Prince George, Canada)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Middle Distance Standing Final 2019-02-16 7
Women's Middle Distance - Free Style Standing Final 2019-02-17 8
Women's Sprint - Free Style Standing Final 2019-02-18 6
Women's Sprint Standing Final 2019-02-20 8
Mixed Relay Final 2019-02-23 2
Women's Long Distance - Classic Standing Final 2019-02-24 5