2014 Olympian Long Track speed skater Muncef Ouardi set to retire

Long track speed skater Muncef Ouardi, who represented Canada at the 2014 Olympic Games, announced his retirement today.
   
A native of Quebec City, QC, Muncef Ouardi took part in the 500m and 1000m events at the 2014 Olympic Games, where he respectively ranked 25th and 32nd.

The 29 year-old athlete also took part in the 2009, 2011 and 2012 World Single Distance Championships, as well as in the 2012 World Sprint Championships.

He was also crowned 500m Canadian Junior Champion in 2005.

“After reflecting on it over last season, I decided to retire as I feel I gave it everything,” said Muncef Ouardi. “The last three years have been particularly hard with multiple injuries, but I’m happy and proud of myself. I can leave with my head held high!”

“On behalf of the Speed Skating Canada community, I would like to congratulate and thank Muncef Ouardi for what he brought to our sport throughout his career”, said Speed Skating Canada President Jim Allison. “He was a great representative of Canadian speed skating not only throughout the country, but also on the international scale. Congratulations Muncef and good luck with your next endeavours.”

Many good memories
Among his best memories in the sport are those from the 2012 World Sprint Championships held at the Olympic Oval in Calgary.

“After my skates were lost, I was able to get my first and only top-10 result at a World Championship. That was the highlight of what was the best season of my career.”

Ouardi will also remember the day he qualified for the 2014 Olympic Games in the 500m event.

“I was in the next-to-last pair of the selections with the skater who was my idol when I was young, Jeremy Wotherspoon, and it was probably the most intense race in which I ever took part.”

Muncef Ouardi will also remember all those times shared with the teamates he trained with throughout his career.

“The friendships we make and share during competition and training camp will definitively be what I will miss the most,” he said.

Inspired to be a coach
Muncef Ouardi took the opportunity to thank the many people who supported him during his career, including his parents.

“They always supported me and cheered for me, from the moment I started until now. They always pushed me to give it my all. In a sport where a hundredth of a second can make the difference between earning an Olympic spot or not, this definitively made a difference.”

“I would also like to thank the staff at Speed Skating Canada and at the Fédération de patinage de vitesse du Québec, as well as all the coaches I met throughout my career, particularly Martin Gagné, who taught me that the most important thing in sport is to love what you do. Also, I would like to thank Robert Tremblay who, with his vision, gave me a unique passion for speed skating, as well as Gregor Jelonek who, thanks to his human side, was able to guide me in the tough times as well as during the happy ones. Their tremendous positive impact is the reason why I’m now moving on to coaching.”

Muncef Ouardi will remain involved in speed skating as a coach at Quebec City’s Training Centre, where he will oversee athletes in short and/or long track.

“I’m happy to be able to share the experience I've gained all these years in skating with kids who have the same passion for skating that I had. The skating community is one in which our kids can grow up and learn more about themselves, and I’m happy to be able to be part of it.”

Muncef Ouardi will also complete the last year of his degree in sports intervention at the Université Laval in Quebec City, which will allow him to “develop my abilities and knowledge to become a better coach.”

More information can be found on Speed Skating Canada’s website: www.speedskating.ca.
   
About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for competitive long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, the association is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial branches representing more than 14,000 individual members, and counting. SSC believes that sport is an apprenticeship for life and prizes respect for others, integrity, excellence of effort, as well as a safe, healthy environment. SSC recognizes and values its outstanding volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise. It also celebrates the 63 Olympic medals won by Canadian athletes since 1932, as well as the coaches, officials and other dedicated individuals who helped them on their journey.

SSC is proud to be affiliated with partners that share the same vision and values including our premium sponsor Intact Insurance, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.

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For information:
Patrick Godbout
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca
Phone: 514 213-9897
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC