Jean-François Monette retires from Short Track Speed Skating

After much thought and eight years of competitive short track speed skating, Jean-François Monette (Pointe-aux-Trembles, QC) has decided to officially retire from Speed Skating Canada’s (SSC) national team.

Monette’s best season was highlighted in 2002-2003, where he won two medals at the World Championships. That year, Monette was first overall in the World Cup Standings in the 500m races and 2nd in the 1000m, and he was later on named Speed Skating Canada’s Male Skater of the Year – Short Track.

After having been away from the international scene in 2005-06, Monette came back at the 2007 World Championships, where he helped Canada take the gold medal, and then in 2008 for silver.

The two time recipient of Speed Skating Canada’s Peter Williamson Bursary, for athletic and academic excellence, is currently pursuing further studies in notary law at the University of Montreal, after graduating with a Law Degree in April 2008.

Photo: Simon Pichette
SSC’s National Short Track Team Program Director, Yves Hamelin, expressed the feelings of many when he stated, “Monette is a perfect example of a great speed skating career. I am sure that his passion and successes will carry over into his personal and professional pursuits, and on behalf of everyone at SSC I wish him the best of luck!”

His career achievements for Speed Skating Canada off the ice are equally remarkable. He was involved as an athlete representative on the High Performance Short Track committee for a number of years. Back in 1996, Monette won the World Junior title and was a finalist at the Canadian Sport Awards for Male Junior Athlete of the Year. A leader on and off the ice, Monette also helped develop future athletes when he coached at his original club Pointe-aux-Trembles. For many years he has quietly assumed the role as mentor, inspiration, and friend to all his fellow National and Development Team members.

« J’ai toujours été un athlète fier et intègre. Je n’ai jamais accepté les demi-mesures. Je crois fermement en l’excellence. J’espère avoir représenté dignement mon sport et mon pays tout au long de ces années, et avoir la chance de le faire encore, mais d’une autre façon, auprès de Patinage de vitesse Canada, » expliquait l’athlète.

Jean-François Monette suffered two concussions during a World Cup last February which, along with a slow to heal knee injury, influenced his decision to move forward. “While I can still train, I can’t do so with the same quality of work that I used to. I always believed I could represent my country in Vancouver, and that’s why I stayed on the team. However, today, I don’t think I can reach the only objective that is worth all these sacrifices: the gold medal,” finished Monette.

Monette will still keep busy in the coming months. Following the Law Degree he completed last May, he should be sworn in as a notary in January of 2010 following the completion of his internship with the notary firm Prud’homme, Fontaine, and Dolan, in Boucherville, QC; a dynamic work environment where excellence and co-operation is fostered, similar to that of the National Short Track team.

Speed Skating Canada joins Jean-François’ former teammates to thank him for his exceptional contribution throughout the years and to wish him the best with his new career.