Denny Morrison comeback story inspires 2018 Canadian Olympic long track speed skating team
With four Olympic medals under his belt, Denny Morrison is heading back to the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang for his fourth Olympic Games in a comeback that some might say is a long shot.
Speed Skating Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee announced its 19-person long track speed skating team on Wednesday at the Jack Singer Concert Hall in Calgary.
Morrison, a silver and bronze medalist in Sochi, made a different kind of headline in May of 2015 when he suffered a fractured femur and punctured lung after a serious motorcycle crash.
Almost a year later, in April 2016, while still recovering, he had another life-altering setback when he suffered a stroke while on a bicycle trip in Utah.
“It feels like a podium, it feels like a victory already,” Morrison said about making Team Canada. “Even just getting to the Olympic trials was a victory and now qualifying and seeing the Olympics, I’m already quite satisfied.”
He spoke while hand-in-hand with wife Josie Morrison of Kamloops B.C., who qualified for the women’s long track speed skating Olympic team.
“It was definitely hard to watch someone you love so much go through so much hurt and pain,” Josie said. “I saw every day how he wanted to be back here and that was his goal and he never gave up on that, and that’s the reason he’s standing here today.”
WATCH: Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C. will represent one of the great stories of human perseverance when he competes in long track speed skating at the 2018 Winter Olympics after he overcame a serious motorcycle crash and a stroke to compete at the Games.
The team roster includes Calgary natives Gilmore Junio, Kaylin Irvine and Brianne Tutt, as well as first-time Canadian Olympian and world record holder Ted-Jan Bloemen.
Junio was the man who gave up his place to skate in the 1,000-metre race four years ago in Sochi so Morrison could race. Morrison won silver in that event.
Now, Junio gets to try for his own Olympic medal.
“Making this team is just a huge accomplishment in itself, so I’m trying to write my own story with the Games and I think we’ll see what that last chapter has to say,” Junio said.
Another comeback story is that of Tutt. Five years ago, before Sochi, she too had a bad crash. Following her recovery, she says now she’s just happy to make the Olympic team.
“It’s a lot more expectations, potentially being able to get a medal in this one, so the preparation is different,” she said. “But I’ve got a good team behind me so I’m excited.”
WATCH: Three-time Olympic long track speed skating medallist Catriona Le May Doan helped introduce the skaters who will represent Canada at the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang.