Sochi 2014: Canada's Junio Puts Team, Country Ahead of Himself
The entire world can learn a lot from Canada by their sportsmanship in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. First, Canadian coach Justin Wadsworth rushed out to replace a Russian skier’s broken ski so he could finish the race and now a speed skater put his team ahead of himself.
There was one story, though, that was left out of the limelight with the men’s speed skating 1000m event. American Shani Davis did not medal and once again The Netherlands received the gold and bronze.
But what about the silver?
Denny Morrison of Canada received the silver and was not supposed to be in the race. It was briefly mentioned that he took over for his teammate Gilmore Junio. He was not hurt or sick. No emergency called him away.
The Netherlands are dominating speed skating. They have won 10 out of 15 medals in the first five events. Junio knew Morrison was the better skater and the best chance for Canada to medal and at least slow down the Dutch.
Morrison tripped in the Canadian trials and therefore did not place in the 1000m--and when he retried he did not meet the mark. He was placed as first reserve and he was devastated until his phone rang.
Morrison was resting in the athletes village late on Monday ahead of his 1,500m race at the weekend when a message came through from an unknown number asking if he was up for the additional duties.
"It said, 'Hey man, are you ready to race the 1,000?' I just saw the Russian number and thought maybe someone had stolen his phone," Morrison told reporters of Junio's offer.
"It was a little bit difficult to just go back saying, 'Yeah man, I'm in.'"
So he jumped on his bike to the Sochi Olympic park and checked he was not the victim of a prank.
"We met in person at the Canada Olympic House and his family and my family were there. I was with my mum and his mum was there and it was pretty special," said Morrison.
"He just told me we needed some medals for this team and historically I had better results than him in the 1,000 so he wanted me to go.
"I was wired the night he told me. I was like, 'Is this really happening?' I wanted to race that night. I was pretty wired so I had to go home and listen to some relaxing music."
It gets better.
Junio raced only in the 500m and placed 10th. He was not jealous of Morrison, but was delighted for his friend. They hugged and cried after the medal ceremony. Morrison heard Team Canada is pushing for Junio to hold the flag at the closing ceremony.
Is there any other choice? After all, Junio represented to all what the Olympics are all about.