2018 Long Track Olympian Josie Morrison retires from speed skating

Calgary, June 19, 2018 – 2018 Olympian and National Long Track Speed Skating Team member Josie (Spence) Morrison of Kamloops, B.C., announced her retirement from competitive speed skating.

Morrison, age 24, placed fourth as a member of Canada's team pursuit squad and 21st in the 1500m at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games held in PyeongChang.

Last fall, Morrison stepped on the podium for the first time at the international level, winning a bronze at the World Cup in Heerenveen, in the Netherlands, in the women’s team pursuit.

“Being a speed skater has made me a better person,” said Morrison. Knowing this is what makes the end of my competitive journey is so special. I’m so grateful for the invaluable lessons speed skating has taught me and the people I have met throughout. I look forward to applying the knowledge I’ve gained from high performance sport into my life outside of speed skating. My thighs may shrink, but my love for skating won’t!”

“On behalf of Speed Skating Canada, I would like to congratulate Josie Spence on her skating career”, said Speed Skating Canada’s Chief Executive Officer, Susan Auch. “Her determination brought her to take part in her first Olympic Games in PyeongChang last winter. Congratulations again and best wishes in your next endeavour!”

Morrison made her international debut in 2013 at the World Junior Championships in Obihiro, Japan, and competed again the following year at the same event held in Callalbo, Italy. In 2013, she skated in her first senior ISU World Cup and competed in an additional 15 World Cup competitions as part of the National Program. She also competed in the 2015 and 2016 ISU World Single Distance Championships, placing fourth in the team pursuit event in 2015.

In May 2017, she married fellow National Team member and Olympic Champion Denny Morrison.

“An unforgettable memory is walking with my husband into the stadium during the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Olympics. A lifelong dream of mine was beginning, and it started off by walking in with the man I love, while representing the country and sport we both love. This is a moment I will always cherish,” Morrison reminisced.

Morrison will also remember a special moment with her sister Victoria, who also decided this year to step away from skating after competing in two World Cups in the 2011-2012 season and being part of the National Development Program for the 2011-2015 seasons. Her other sister, Sara Spence, is still competing in long track speed skating.

“One of my favourite memories is sharing the podium with my sister Victoria at the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax,” said Josie Morrison. “I felt so much pride standing on the podium with Victoria in the sun. After suddenly losing our dad, this accomplishment was a beautiful testament to our strength as a family.”

Josie Morrison also wanted to say a heartfelt thank you to many people in the speed skating community who have been generous, given support, encouragement and advice through the years along with those mentioned below.

“Thanks to my teammates, who made training fun, and to many wonderful coaches along the way – Cathy (Turnbull-Spence), Nancy (Goplen), Arno (Hoogveld), Todd (McClements), Mark (Wild), Xiuli (Wang), Nick (Simpson) and Marcel (Lacroix). They each taught me far more than just how to be a better skater.

“Thanks to the support team who did an amazing job at keeping my body healthy throughout my career and to my mental performance coach, Alayne Hing. Speed skating is hard. You made it easier. I am constantly chasing you in life and wouldn’t have made it half as far without you!”

“Skating also granted me a best friend, Heather McLean. Thank you for our encouraging friendship on and off the ice.”

“To my husband, Denny, thank you for your loving support. Your resilience offered me great perspective. Thanks for inspiring me to be my best in all I do.”

“And lastly, thank you to my entire family. Cathy, Victoria, Sara and Eric, you’ve been my biggest supporters from day one. I wouldn’t have made it half as far without you.”

“So many people played a part in my speed skating career in some form or another,” added Morrison. “I love how sport brings people together. Thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout my journey. Your wisdom, encouragement and advice were golden. Your generosity has inspired me to give back in the way you did and do.”

Josie Morrison is pursuing a degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary.

More details are available at Speed Skating Canada's web site at www.speedskating.ca.

About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, SSC is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial associations. Speed Skating Canada is committed to Challenge and Inspire Canada to Thrive through the power of Speed Skating. 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. www.speedskating.ca

Speed Skating Canada would like to thank its sponsors:

Premium partner: Intact Insurance
Funding partners: Government of Canada (Sport Canada), Own The Podium, Canadian Olympic Committee
Official On-Ice High Performance Apparel: Li-Ning
Long Track Team Sponsor: KIA
Official Suppliers: Auclair, USANA
Official Technical Equipment Supplier: Nagano Skate
Sport Development Partners: Winsport Canada, Calgary’s Olympic Oval, University of Calgary, Institut national du sport du Québec, Government of Quebec, Canadian Sport Institute-Calgary, City of Montreal, Quebec City, Excellence sportive Québec-Lévis

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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