Canadian Olympians kick off countdown to Calgary tournament with surprise school visit
CALGARY -- Some of the fastest athletes on the Olympic Oval shared some important messages with students at a Calgary school Thursday.
The Grades 5 and 6 classes of Holy Name School received a surprise visit from Denny Morrison and Gilmore Junio.
"I just love seeing the look on the kids faces when we do these events," said Junio. "(The excitement) gets me pumped up to speed skate and to try to accomplish more."
The visit marks the one-week countdown to the 2020 ISU World Cup Speed Skating where Morrison, a four-time Olympic medallist, will be honoured by Speed Skating Canada. Junio is set to compete Feb. 7 and 8 alongside his long track teammates.
The pair spoke about chasing dreams and overcoming challenges, all while keeping teamwork in mind.
"I think trying to give to others and being a good friend, teammate, or brother – a lot of good things can happen because of that," Junio said.
Junio is an Olympian and multiple World Cup medallist, and he sets an example of what teamwork can accomplish. In a selfless act at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, Junio gave up his spot in the 1000m to Morrison, who led Canada to a silver medal finish in the event.
That kind of sportsmanship is what he hopes kids can aspire to.
"We get discouraged when we try and it doesn’t work out and then we don’t know what to do," said Mary Laviolette, principal of Holy Name School.
"But (it’s great) having live wonderful examples of what perseverance looks like and can look like."