In the summer of 2010, Gilmore Junio was named to Canada’s Long Track Development Team, and that fall he found himself travelling the globe racing for Canada at four World Cups, winning two medals in the 500 metre. Three years later he was ranked 8th in the world with a World Cup Silver medal, and just a year after that he found himself representing Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. But despite his accomplishments on the track, it was was what he did off the track at those Olympics that resulted in Junio’s receiving a champion’s welcome upon his return home to Calgary.
After teammate Denny Morrison fell and failed to qualify for the men’s 1000 m, he received a text message from Junio, who decided to withdraw so that Morrison could have the opportunity to race instead. Morrison went on to win the silver medal in that race, giving Morrison his fourth ever Olympic medal, equaling Gaetan Boucher for the most medals by a Canadian male long track speed skater.
“That experience of having a teammate do something like that for me at the Olympics, that’s unprecedented to begin with, but that was a special moment,” Morrison says. “I couldn’t stop saying thank you.”
Junio still has medal ambitions for the next Olympics in four years. Says Morrison, “If it all works out to the very best there’ll be a team sprint event in 2018 and we can be on the same team and win together that way.”