Two-time Olympian Anastasia Bucsis retires from long track speed skating

NextGen group member Alex Ruel-Garvey also to hang up his skates

Calgary, April 10, 2017 – Two-time Olympian from Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014, Anastasia Bucsis from Calgary, AB, has decided to retire from long track speed skating.

“After a challenging year wrought with a serious knee injury, I’ve made the very difficult decision to say goodbye to a wonderful 24 years of my life, and retire from long track speed skating,” said Anastasia Bucsis, who is 27 years old. “I look forward to staying close to my speed skating family, and I wish all of our wonderful Canadian skaters nothing but the best success in the future as I believe our Canadian team is on the verge of once again dominating the world with our talent and dedication.”

“On behalf of Speed Skating Canada’s community, I would like to thank and congratulate Anastasia Bucsis for her successes and her contribution to our sport,” said Speed Skating Canada President Blair Carbert. “On and off the ice, Anastasia showed her tenacity and leadership which brought her to two Olympic Games. Congratulations again and good luck in your next endeavour!”

Bucsis burst onto the international scene in 2009-2010 by qualifying for her first World Cup, a season which was capped by a participation to the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver where she skated to 34th place in the 500m. She then went on to skate in the three following World Single Distance Championships, in 2011, 2012 and 2013, where her top performance in the 500m came in 2012, when she placed 15th. Four years after her first Olympics, she once again represented Canada at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, where she came in 28th place in the 500m.

In the span of years between the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, Bucsis competed in 19 World Cups throughout the world. Spending most of her time in the top 20, Bucsis’ best result came in March of 2012 when she placed 13th in the 500m in Heerenveen, Netherlands. She also competed in two World Sprint Championships in 2010 and 2012, placing 17th overall in both events.

Anastasia Bucsis wanted to thank many people who surrounded her during her career.

“Being an only child, I was fortunate to have brothers and sisters from all over Canada who I grew up with, matured with, laughed with, and felt every human emotion through the pursuit of speed skating excellence. To my teammates: what a ride, what a party, and what a future that I look forward to, as we all proceed down the road of life,” confessed Bucsis.

“I also have had great guidance from very dedicated coaches, who allowed me to be me, unfailingly, and for this, I would like to thank each and every one of them. I would be remiss in not thanking my off-ice support staff (and oftentimes confidantes) as well,” added Bucsis.

“I would also like to thank my parents who’ve taught me the greatest lesson in life, that whenever you fall down, you get back up. That without integrity, nothing works. That it’s not about the wins or losses, but how you play the game. They’ve given me the opportunity to succeed because they’ve also allowed me to fail, and make my own mistakes, while always supporting me with love and guidance. I hope I’ve made you proud - it’s all I’ve ever tried to accomplish in life.”

Bucsis grew up in Calgary and spent her entire skating career, from the age of four until the present, training at the Olympic Oval.

“I know every inch of the Calgary Olympic Oval and I’m fortunate to call it home - now, and forever. I treasure the people of the Oval and I would also like to thank all the volunteers. You’ve bettered my life far more than you know, and you’ve fuelled a lifelong dream. It’s the people in life that make it work - not the things - and you all have put a smile on my heart.”

“And one final thought: it isn’t the medals, the victories, the defeats, or the Olympics. It is the people and the relationships that I will miss, and I will never forget,” said Bucsis in closing.

Outside of skating, Bucsis lends her time as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) spokesperson in sport after she came out in 2013. She has been working towards a degree in communications, which she is planning to finish this spring. As an RBC Olympian, she will continue to work as a community ambassador and in the future hopes to further her career in sports media.

Alex Ruel-Garvey also retires from speed skating
Alex Ruel-Garvey, a member of the National Program NextGen team this season, has also decided to step away from competitive speed skating. A Calgary native, Ruel-Garvey found speed skating in his late teens. He rose to quick success in a short amount of time and competed in the 2015 ISU World Junior Championships in Warsaw, Poland, where he placed 6th in the 500m and 11th in the 1000m.

“I have made the decision to retire because I've had a tough couple of years with injuries and just finding myself, and have decided to move on to the next chapter of my life and pursue massage therapy,” explained Ruel-Garvey.

The 20-year-old skater competed in several Canada Cups across the nation, and also one Junior World Cup which was hosted in Calgary in November 2014, where he placed 5th in the 500m and 7th in both the 1000m and the 1500m.

“My best memory would have to be my first ever Canada Cup in Quebec in my second-year skating. It was a fun competition and I met a lot of great people,” remembered Ruel-Garvey, who was first coached by Brock Miron and then by National Program coach Mark Wild.

“I'd like to thank all of the coaches who have guided me along the way, the amazing support staff that I was blessed with, and my great teammates I've had the pleasure of suffering through all those hard programs with; you all really made it fun. But most of all, I would like to thank Brock Miron for giving me an amazing four years with him. He helped me through the tough times and I'm glad that it was with him I shared most of my success in the sport,” said Ruel-Garvey.
 
More info is available at 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 sponsors Intact Insurance, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, City of Montreal, Calgary Olympic Oval and WinSport Canada.

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For information:
Kerry Dankers
Long Track Program and Communications Coordinator
Speed Skating Canada
Email: kdankers@speedskating.ca
Phone: 403-589-8960
Website: www.speedskating.ca  
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC 
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC 

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