Junio opts out of 1000m; Morrison to skate Wednesday

Sochi, Russia, Feb. 11, 2014 – Gilmore Junio

Sochi, Russia, Feb. 11, 2014 – In an act of selflessness and true Olympic spirit, Gilmore Junio of Calgary has elected to opt out from racing in the 1000m event tomorrow at the Adler Arena. Denny Morrison, who was the first alternate in the distance, will compete in his place.

"Denny and I are made of the same fabric - we both want to win and represent our country at a level that reflects that passion” said Junio, who finished third in the distance at the Canadian Olympic Team trials back in December. While the decision was a tough one to make, Junio felt that “how Denny is skating now, I believe it’s in the best interest of the team if he races. To represent Canada at the Olympics is a huge honour and privilege but I believe that as Canadians, we’re not just here to compete; we are here to win. Denny has proven to be a consistent medal threat in the distance”.

For team leader Sean Ireland, a former Olympian himself, this was “an incredibly special gesture from a team member”. The Canadian speed skating Olympic team selection process is such that each athlete earns their spot to compete in their respective distance. The decision to race rests upon each skater. Ireland added “Gil contacted me last night to inform me that he wanted to give up his spot to allow Denny to race”.

Morrison was on ice today, getting ready for his upcoming events. “Gil is a great teammate. He told me that he wanted me to race. This is an amazing gesture and I’m ready to make the most of this opportunity.” It is clear Gilmore Junio has already learned Olympic heroes are created off the ice as well as on it.

Junio, who is only 23 years old, will be one of the many Canadian speed skating fans cheering Denny, William Dutton, Muncef Ouardi and Vince De Haître tomorrow.