Olympic long track speed skaters Gilmore Junio, Kaylin Irvine and Marsha Hudey have made their respective retirements from competitive speed skating official. The three former national team athletes were honoured this past weekend at the ISU World Cup Speed Skating in Calgary.
Junio, Irvine and Hudey each represented Canada on the international stage for nearly a decade, overcoming injury and adversity to achieve tremendous things, both on and off the ice.
A member of the national team since 2010, Gilmore Junio represented Canada at three Olympic Games – Sochi 2014, PyeongChang 2018 and Beijing 2022. The Calgary native has won 12 World Cup medals over the course of his career, including seven in the 500m and five in the Team Sprint. Widely recognized for his exceptional sportsmanship and leadership qualities both on and off the ice, Junio won the hearts of Canadians following his unselfish display of sportsmanship at Sochi 2014. In 2022, he was selected as the first ever recipient of Speed Skating Canada’s Athlete Impact Award, which recognizes a community champion who positively influences those around them.
“I’m really grateful to the sport of speed skating for everything that it has given me. It has taught me a lot, pretty much every lesson that I’ve ever learned, but the biggest thing was perseverance. Not everything went the way I wanted it to in my speed skating career, but I learnt how to persevere and push towards my goals.”
“My favourite speed skating memory was making the Olympics for the first time in 2013 here in Calgary. Getting a chance to share that moment and celebrate with my family and friends was really special. It was the realization of a childhood dream and something that I will never forget.”
A sprint specialist, Kaylin Irvine made her World Cup debut during the 2011-2012 season and was a mainstay on the international circuit for nearly a decade. The Calgary native won two World Cup bronze medals in the Team Sprint and was also a World Championship silver in the distance. Irvine represented Canada at two Olympic Games – Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 – where she finished 18th and 23rd in the 1000m. She also skated at multiple World Sprint Championships, earning a career-best ninth-place finish in 2020.
“In many ways, speed skating has taught me that the limit does not exist. There were so many times where I had an idea of what I was capable of, and I was able to achieve that and more. I learnt not to limit what I thought I was capable of, because if you love something, you work towards it and are surrounded by the right people, you can do anything.”
“I have so many good memories about my time in speed skating that I can’t pick just one. I will say that I was luck enough to room a lot with Marsha Hudey at World Cups and after good races or bad races, we would go back to our room and just laugh about silly things and have the best time. I have so many of those memoires that they just merge together. Memories like that – that I share with so many different teammates – are my favourites.”
Hailing from White City, Saskatchewan, Marsha Hudey has been a sprinter for Team Canada on the international stage since the 2013-2014 season. She captured three World Cup medals over the course of her career, including two bronze in Team Sprint and one silver in the 500m. Hudey represented Canada at three Olympics – Sochi 2014, PyeongChang 2018 and Beijing 2022 – and was Canada’s top-ranked woman in the 500m in PyeongChang, finishing 10th overall.
“My favourite memory from speed skating would have to be making the 2014 Olympic team. It was my first Olympics and my dad coached me at those Games, so it was very, very special to me. My dad had coached me since I was a little girl, so making those Games was the most special moment and I’ll forever cherish that.”
“Speed skating has impacted me greatly and I’m going to miss it dearly, but there are so many things that I can take away from it. I’ve had so many unforgettable memories and experiences and successes. I’m just very honoured, grateful and humbled to have been able to represent Canada and my sport at the highest level. I just know that there are so many things from speed skating that are going to help my in my future. There’s so much that I take away from it that I know will serve me well.”