May 15, 2014 (ISN) – Canada’s Gilmore Junio has been awarded a special commemorative medal to mark his selfless act at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games when he gave up his place in the men’s 1,000 metres speed skating competition to team mate Denny Morrison, who went on to claim silver in the event.
Morrison had missed the cut for the team after an unfortunate fall at the Canadian trials in December 2013 saw him go to the Games as a reserve, while Junio finished third in the trials.
However, the day before the 1,000m speed skating event was due to get underway on February 12 in Sochi, Junio announced he had opted out of the team to give his good friend Morrison an opportunity to compete.
Morrison, who won team pursuit gold at Vancouver 2010, went on to claim silver in the race behind Stefan Groothuis of the Netherlands, while he also added 1,500m bronze later on at the Games.
Junio had earlier finished 10th in his speciality discipline the 500m.
However, his act of sportsmanship created headlines throughout the Games and beyond and he has now been recognised with the award of a special commemorative medal at a ceremony in King Edward Elementary School in Kitchener, Ontario.
Toronto-based firm Jacknife Design organised a campaign to recognise the 23-year-old’s kind act following the Games.
The firm developed a website, filmed a video, started an Indiegogo site to crowd-fund donations for materials costs and launched a social media campaign called “Thanks Gilmore” that raised more than CAD $7,500 (£4,116/$6,900/€5,032) to cover the costs of producing the medal.
The medal is made of gold, silver and Western maple burl; with a silver leaf at the centre that was 3D-printed and then cast in silver.
“To know that what Denny and I did resonated with Canadians in a way that they would go out of their way to show their appreciation is super-humbling,” said Junio, who accepted the commemorative medal from the King Edward students who contributed a significant portion of the total funds raised.
“Denny and I were pretty good friends before, and now I guess we have a good story to tell.
“A huge thank you to the people at Jacknife and to all of the people that donated to the project – I think this shows what Canada is all about.”
Canadian Olympic Committee President Marcel Aubut commented: “Gilmore’s story continues to be one of the finest examples of teamwork coming out of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games.
“He is a fierce competitor, an exemplary Olympian and it is a great honour to be able to count him as one of our own.”
Junio’s was not the only sporting act of note from a Canadian at Sochi 2014 though, and followed an incident earlier in the Games when cross-country coach Justin Wadsworth provided Russian skier Anton Gafarov with a ski after he had broken his own during a fall, allowing him to finish the race.