Hall of Famer
Resilient. Adaptable. Tenacious. These characteristics launched a career and an improbable run to the heights of cross country ski racing for a young skier from a small Ontario town.
Devon Kershaw was at the forefront of a “Golden Age” for cross country ski racing in Canada, leading a group that would win and compete with the world’s best skiers on a regular basis. Alongside his long-time teammate Alex Harvey, Devon ranks as one of the most successful Canadian ski racers of all time.
When he earned a World Cup bronze medal in 2006, he was the first Canadian man to reach an international podium since Pierre Harvey in 1988.
Over the coming years, Devon roared through the World Cup circuit challenging the Scandinavian and European skiers for podiums and titles. The dynamic duo of Devon and Alex reached the pinnacle in 2011, when they became the first Canadian men to ever reach the World Championship podium in the team sprint, beating out the favoured Norwegian team in front of tens of thousands of home fans, in Oslo, Norway.
“First, I want to be clear that Alex Harvey is the best Canadian cross country ski racer that ever lived and it’s not even close,” Devon said, in response to his history and successes with Alex.
The humble-yet-confident skier from Sudbury overcame many obstacles and challenges in his journey to the elite levels of the sport. Growing up as a ‘December baby’ and usually the smallest in the group, Devon found the hockey crowd in the rough-and-tumble town of Sudbury a little challenging but it brought out a tenacious and resilient approach that ultimately served Devon well over his career. “You develop a bit of a chip on your shoulder,” he said.
Devon skied with the local ski club and eventually the Laurentian zone program where he attended the World Juniors three times between 2000 to 2002. He also won a handful of national junior titles during this time.
Coming out of high school with a handful of distance running scholarship offers from NCAA Division 1 schools in the U.S., Devon ultimately chose skiing and made the move to Canmore, Alberta, to advance his training and approach with the national ski team, while enrolling in the University of Calgary.
Devon’s tenacious and ambitious nature once again shone when he arrived with a high standard of success, at a time when the men’s program was in a funk. The men’s team at the time, didn’t have results of note, but according to Devon, “the will to work, the camaraderie and the effort was all there and it was huge for me.”
“We were a strong group of like-minded men who all worked hard towards the same goal,” he said. “We pushed each other and were focused on working hard – really hard – and believed in the possibility to improve. What transpired is unfathomable really.”
The men’s team made steady progress over the next few seasons, and when Alex arrived on the scene, things advanced quickly for the Canadian men’s team. The hard work started to pay off.
When competing in his second Olympic Games at Vancouver 2010 under a glaring spotlight at the home Games, Kershaw came painfully-close to to the podium in the 50km mass start, when the top five men had all finished within 1.6 seconds. It was widely considered a gutsy and valiant effort. In the week prior, he and Alex finished fourth, also just off the podium in the team sprint.
The next season Devon continued his ascent, recording his first victory on the World Cup and finishing in the top 10 in the overall standings. He proved to be one of the most consistent all-round skiers which also saw him become the third Canadian man to win a World Cup race during a thrilling Tour de Ski where he captured one gold, two silver and a bronze medal.
In the 2012 season, he one-upped himself with two World Cup victories en route to a second-place finish in the overall World Cup standings, the best-ever performance by a Canadian man. Then in January 2017, Devon was part of the 4×7.5km relay team that won a World Cup bronze in Ulricehamn, Sweden. It was Canada’s first ever World Cup podium in a distance relay. He made his fourth and final Olympic appearance at PyeongChang in 2018.
All said, Devon had three World Cup wins, 14 total World Cup medals and a second overall World Cup finish in 2012. He represented Canada at four Olympic Games, seven World Championships and three World Junior Championships.
After retiring from competition skiing, Devon moved to Norway with his wife Kristin Stoermer Steira, herself a two-time Olympic medallist for Norway. They have two children Asta Isabel and Aurora. Devon continues his studies in medicine with the goal of practicing as a sports medicine physician.
- 290 World Cup starts
- 48 World Cup top 10s; 14 World Cup podiums, including 3 wins
- 8 World Cup Stage podiums, including 1 win
- 10 World Junior Championships starts
- 25 World Championship starts
- 1 World Championship medal
- 15 Olympic Winter Games starts
- 5 National Championship podiums, including 3 wins
- 8 Nor-Am podiums, including 4 wins
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