Alumni Profile: Anastasia Bucsis

We’re proud to highlight two-time Olympian Anastasia Bucsis, who talks to us about the important role LGBTQ+ visibility plays in helping create a safe and welcoming sport environment. 

“You never know what kid may need to hear that they matter and that they're loved, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender expression.” – Anastasia Bucsis, on the importance of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

Biography

  • Sport: Long Track
  • Born: April 30, 1989
  • Hometown: Calgary, Alberta
  • Olympics: Vancouver 2010, Sochi 2014

Anastasia Bucsis is a sprint specialist who competed in the 500m at two Olympic Games, Vancouver 2010 (34th) and Sochi 2014 (28th). She burst onto the international scene in 2009-2010 by qualifying for her first World Cup and went on to skate in the three World Single Distance Championships and two World Sprint Championships over her nine year career.

Following her retirement from speed skating in 2017, Anastasia joined the CBC Sports team as a host and analyst across their multiple platforms. She launched the successful Player's Own Voice podcast, where her goal is to interview world class athletes as humans first and athletes second. And she also remains connected to her speed skating roots by providing colour commentary on Road to the Olympic Games broadcasts.

Anastasia is a passionate advocate for mental health issues and eradicating homophobia in sport. In the lead up to Sochi 2014, she came out publicly in opposition to Russia's anti LGBTQ+ laws and competed as the only 'out' athlete from North America. She has appeared in multiple documentaries on the subject and was recently featured in the children’s book Proud to Play by Erin Silver, where the author shares the stories of LGBTQ+ Olympic athletes and coaches in an effort to give kids someone to look up to and show them they have a place in sport no matter what.

Follow Anastasia on Twitter (@anastasure) or Instagram (@anastasure)!

Q&A

What motivated your decision to retire from skating?

  • Unfortunately, a knee injury that has never gone away. The consistent pain just took all the fun and freedom out of skating, and I had to retire early. I have affectionately dubbed it "Freedom 27".

What do you miss most about being a member of the national team?

  • The friends. The competition. I absolutely loved racing. I miss the mundane moments on road trips when you're bored in the hotel. When you retire, you realize that those moments are the best of your life. It's cliched, but all the 'butterflies' that athletes feel before a competition - as uncomfortable as they are in the moment - they are exactly what you miss once you're finished skating.

How would you best describe your new profession?

  • The second love of my professional life (skating around in a circle is my first).

What made you choose this profession, what do you love about it?

  • I've known I wanted to work in the media since Junior High. I've always loved connecting with people, and I'm interested and curious in getting to know about their personal experience.

What from your athletic career has helped you grow as a person or helped you face other challenges?

  • Almost everything. The ability to maneuver the ups and downs of life. The ability to be coached. The ability to laugh at yourself and recognize that failure is not fatal, and that you can try again tomorrow. I always try to bring a 'beginner's mindset' to everything I do; it keeps life fun and reminds me that you're never too old to stop learning.

In your opinion, what is the importance of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia to you and to the sport in general?

  • Visibility is so important, people sharing their stories are so important. You never know what kid may need to hear that they matter and that they're loved, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender expression. I needed that message when I was young, and I think today is a great way to help spread that message.