Five-time Olympic medalist Marc Gagnon is set to join Canada’s national short track program as an Assistant Coach, where he will help guide the country’s top skaters to podium performances at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.
With over a decade of coaching experience under his belt, the native of Chicoutimi, Que., will play an integral role in the new coaching structure that will take Speed Skating Canada through to the 2022 Games.
In addition to Gagnon’s hiring, Sébastien Cros has been formally named National Team Coach, with leadership of both the men’s and women’s national teams. Cros has been involved with the National and NextGen programs in various capacities since 2007, which includes leading the women’s team to a pair of silver medals at Vancouver 2010 and helping the men’s team win seven World Cup medals last season.
“I’m really excited to be reuniting with many of my former athletes and to help continue their development all the way to the Olympic Games. I’m looking forward to collaborating with one of the world’s greatest short track coaches, Sébastien Cros. Sébastien and I share the same ideas and to support him in his vision of developing the key skills needed for international success motivates me enormously. As I have been saying since my early days as a coach, I am dedicated to giving young people the tools necessary so that they too have the chance to achieve their dreams.” – Marc Gagnon, Assistant Coach, Short Track Program
Gagnon, 45, has been a part of the coaching staff at the Canadian Regional Training Centre (CRCE) in Montreal since 2010, where he was responsible for preparing the sport’s rising stars. He was promoted to head coach of the CRCE in 2014 and recently began mentoring two new assistant coaches – Marianne St-Gelais and Jonathan Perez-Audy. He will continue to provide support to the CRCE coaching staff through the end of the 2021-22 season, helping to ensure the ongoing success of this critical development program.
As a skater, Gagnon enjoyed over a decade of success on the national team and finished his career as one of Canada’s most decorated short track speed skaters.
He made his Olympic debut at Lillehammer 1994, where he won bronze in the 1000m, and followed that up four years later with gold in the 5000m men’s relay at Nagano 1998. He capped off his Olympic career with three medals at Salt Lake City 2002, earning gold in the 500m and men’s relay, along with bronze in the 1500m.
In addition to his Olympic success, Gagnon was crowned overall World Champion on four occasions (1993, 1994, 1996, 1998), while finishing second twice (1995, 1997) and third once (2001). He captured 22 individual World Championship medals (10 gold, eight silver, four bronze) and six in the men’s relay (two gold, three silver, one bronze).
Gagnon was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 2007 and inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2008. He is also a member of Speed Skating Canada’s Hall of Fame and the organization’s annual award for Male Short Track Athlete of the Year – a title he was honoured with eight times throughout his career – is now named in his honour.
“I am excited for this new challenge of leading both the men’s and women’s program into Beijing and am happy to team up with Marc to help our athletes achieve success. In addition to his experiences as a five-time Olympic medalist, he also brings a wealth of knowledge gained over several years as Head Coach of the Canadian Regional Training Centre. Marc has demonstrated an ability to work hard and demands a lot from those around him, which will allow us to improve the support given to our best athletes.” – Sébastien Cros, National Team Coach, Short Track Program.
“Marc’s breadth of knowledge, experience and intrinsic feel for the sport is something that will enhance our program and benefit our athletes. His passion for teaching and helping those around him excel – as evident in his commitment to remaining involved as a mentor for our Regional Training Centre coaches – are attributes our organization is looking for. We are excited that he will soon benefit from the Coaching Enhancement Program, offered through our valued partners at Own the Podium, which has helped us develop some of the top coaches in the world and will further build on Marc’s skills.” – Shawn Holman, Chief Sport Officer, Speed Skating Canada