OLYMPIC CHAMPION MARC GAGNON RETIRES

Gagnon and Speed Skating Canada have announced Marc's decision to retire as a member of Speed Skating Canada's National Team. The announcement took place at "Cage aux Sports" restaurant in downtown Montreal on Wednesday afternoon. Gagnon, of Chicoutimi, QC, leaves the sport following a brilliant performance at the Salt Lake City Olympics where he won gold in the 500m and the men's relay as well as a bronze in the 1500m. These medals combine with a gold in Nagano (relay) and a bronze in Lillehammer (1000m) have made him the most decorated winter Olympian in Canadian sport history, surpassing fellow speed skater Gaétan Boucher who won 4 Olympic medals.

"This was an extremely difficult decision for me because I love to skate", said Gagnon. "I have been giving it a lot of thought over the past months and it became clear that it was time for me to move on to life after skating.

I have reached my career goals in speed skating and it's now time for me to set my sights on other challenges and goals".

In addition to his five Olympic medals, the 10-year veteran of the national team has four World Championship titles and two silver medals at the Worlds as well as numerous World Cup medals to his international resume.

"Marc has had tremendous success throughout his career and Speed Skating Canada extends our best wishes and every success in any future endeavours" stated Brian Bunney, Speed Skating Canada President.

"Marc has been a valuable member and team leader of the national short track team for many years and he will be missed in the years ahead."

Since his return from Salt Lake City, Marc has been involved in a number of different projects ranging from business ventures to public speaking functions to broadcasting. His bubbly and outgoing personality has helped him become one of the most sought after personalities in Quebec. This summer Marc became co-owner of "Cage aux Sports" restaurant at 1437 René-Lévesque Ouest in downtown Montreal as well as being the spokesperson for the restaurant chain. He also recently became co-owner of the fitness centers Énergie Cardio in Chicoutimi and Anjou, in addition to serving as its spokesperson.

Marc gained valuable experience in the broadcast field this summer as he appeared as a sports commentator for four weeks on the Montreal radio station CKMF. This fall he will have a regular segment on the local television program "Teksho" where he will comment on technology in the entertainment field. The show airs in Quebec on Canal Z. He will also be appearing on the television show "Fun Noir", on TQS, where he will test various consumer products. Marc will continue his involvement with speed skating as demonstrated on September 16th, 2002 when his Celebrity Golf Tournament helped raise $12,500 for the National Short Track Training Centre in Montreal.