News and background stories

First annual Branch Out Bike Tour this weekend in Panorama, BC

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Almost two months ago, on May 1, former long track speed skater Justine L’Heureux and a couple of friends set out on what was to become a heroic bike tour all across Canada. They started out from L’Heureux’ hometown, near Montreal, QC, and are planning to arrive in Panorama, BC shortly before the first annual Branch Out Bike Tour on June 25th, 55 days and 4500 km later. They are doing so to help build more awareness of diseases associated with the neurological system, like Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s, and to raise as much money as possible for research of these conditions.

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“It’s not going to change the world, but if we can help just a little bit, that will be a success for us!” 

Friday, 29 April 2011 

On June 25 several Canadian speed skaters will participate in the first annual Branch Out Bike Tour to help build more awareness of diseases associated with the neurological system, like Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s. Among them will be Justine L’Heureux, runner-up at the Junior World Championships in 2008, but for her the Bike Tour will be the pinnacle of an epic bike trip across Canada to draw attention to neurological diseases, starting on May 1 near Montreal, QC and concluding on June 25 in Panorama, BC for the Bike Tour. L’Heureux is determined to complete this journey to help out her good friend and co-founder of the Branch Out Foundation, speed skater Crystal Phillips, who was diagnosed with MS herself a couple of years ago.

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William Dutton happy with first World Cup results

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

After finishing second overall in the 500m and fourth in the 1000m at the Fall World Cup Trials last October, William Dutton, who is currently in his second year as a senior, qualified for the Canadian World Cup team for the very first time in his career. Starting in Heerenveen and Berlin in November, and then heading out to Asia in December, he claimed a silver medal in the B group in Berlin, and eventually ended up skating several of his races in the A division. With his first World Cup experiences under his belt and the Canadian Single Distances Championships just around the corner, Dutton reflects on the past two months and looks forward to the Winter part of the season.

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Former short track speed skater Gilmore Junio successful at first long track World Cups

Monday, 27 December 2010 

Short track speed skating had always been Gilmore Junio’s main focus, and long track was just something he did on the side. That was until a serious injury took him out, two weeks prior to the competition he had been working towards to for a very long time. Looking for a safer way to train and skate, Junio then turned to long track, which last October resulted in qualification for the Canadian long track World Cup team for the first time in his career. Back home in Calgary after having competed in Europe and Asia, Junio reflects on his first World Cup experiences and his switch from short track to long track. Read more

Morrison: "I decided I'd take on the Kristina Groves approach and just try to not care so much..."

Tuesday, 9 November 2010 

Even though the Olympics in Vancouver were a disappointment for Denny Morrison in terms of his individual performances in the 1000m and 1500m and the aftermath in the media shortly thereafter, he showed some remarkable resilience when he helped Team Canada win Olympic Gold in the Team Pursuit just a few days later. But that was then, and this is now. With his 1:08.46 in the 1000m at the Fall World Cup Trials in Calgary last month, Morrison gave a good start to this post-Olympic season, and as a result he is confidently looking forward to what is to come. But not before looking back one last time. In his own words, Morrison reflects on the two days of Olympic Team Pursuit racing, that gave an otherwise clouded Olympics a gold lining after all.

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Lacroix: “It’s easy to understand that Canada is not about to be phased out, the sky is the limit!”

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

After many successful years as one of the coaches of the Canadian long track team and five Olympic medals in long track which he helped to achieve, last spring Marcel Lacroix decided to step back from all this to start focusing on a new challenge as Associate Director at the Calgary Olympic Oval Long Track program. With two gold medals at the Vancouver Games to look back on and this new job to look forward to, Lacroix reflects on his career, the much debated Team Pursuit push and the future of Canadian long track speed skating.

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“As a team, we focused on each one of our strengths to put together one of the strongest teams...”


Wednesday, 6 October 2010 

It was not until the very last day of speed skating competition at the Olympic Games in Vancouver that the Canadian men’s long track team claimed their first gold medal, after they had defeated Team USA in the Team Pursuit final, but it turned out to be an omen for another Olympic final the very next day, in which Team USA once again had to admit defeat against the Canadian Olympic team, this time in a historic hockey final. Lucas Makowsky, Mathieu Giroux, Denny Morrison and their coach Marcel Lacroix reflect on the two days of Olympic Team Pursuit competition, the much debated “secret push”, and other new Team Pursuit strategies.

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Great past season for Lucas Makowsky

Saturday, 25 September 2010 

It has been an incredible Olympic season for Lucas Makowsky. What started with his first individual podium finish at the Hamar World Cup in November, ended with an Olympic gold medal in the Team Pursuit in Vancouver and another podium finish at the World All-round Championships in Heerenveen. After taking some well-deserved time off, Makowsky is now back to training full-time and is excited for the next Olympic cycle to begin. But not before looking back on this past successful season...

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Remarkable first full long track season for Mathieu Giroux

Sunday, 19 September 2010 

Even though it has not even been two years since Mathieu Giroux exchanged his short track skates for long track ones, he can already look back on a remarkable career, with an Olympic gold medal in the Team Pursuit as the absolute highlight thus far. What makes it even more remarkable, though, is that this switch sprang from sheer necessity... Giroux reflects on his decision to try out long track and on his Olympic season, and explains why he, despite his successes in long track speed skating, has nevertheless returned to short track training again for the time being.

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Breakthrough season for Anastasia Bucsis

Monday, 16 August 2010 

In terms of breakthrough seasons, it goes without saying that Anastasia Bucsis looks back on one. At the Canadian Fall World Cup Trials in Richmond last October, she surprisingly claimed the overall bronze medal in the 500m, thereby securing a spot on a World Cup team for the very first time. After this she went on to qualify for the Olympic 500m at the Canadian Single Distances Championships/Olympic Trials in Calgary last December. Bucsis reflects on her past season and looks forward to the upcoming one, which she will be skating as a member of the Canadian National Team.

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