Nikki Keddie is considered one of Canada's brightest biathlon prospects but the 23-year-old encountered difficulties last year due mainly to a vicious flu bug which ravaged other Canadian team members as well. Keddie enjoyed a breakthrough season in 1995-96 when she posted two top-20 results- 13th and 15th on the World Cup circuit. Only Myriam Bedard has posted better World Cup results for Canadian women. Keddie, who is known for her fitness and her calmness, feels there's still a lot improvement needed especially with her skiing technique. She also feels more work is necessary to improve her mental abilities in order to adapt to different and crucial situations.
"Again this season I've worked hard at improving the mental side of my racing," said Keddie, who has completed two years of psychology at the University of Calgary and will resume her studies after the Olympics. "I think it's very important because there's more stress this year due to the trials and Olympics."
One of the drawbacks to having an sub par season for any athlete is regaining the overall feeling when you have great performances.
"I'm sort of in the dark right now why that year was so good (in 1995-96)," she said. "I think a lot will depend on whether I have a good start to the season. I've certainly enjoyed a very good training camp. Last year at this time I had missed some parts of training camp because of illness and that didn't help."
Keddie began her biathlon career in Toronto where she was born and raised. She was a member of her high school's ski team in grade 10 when a captain at a local cadet unit gave a biathlon demonstration. Keddie and two of her best friends were immediately hooked and even joined the cadets. Keddie competed at the Canada Games the following year and her strong performance confirmed she had the talent to go far in the sport. She was a member of the Governor General's Horse Guard military unit based in Toronto in 1994 and 1995.