Gilmore Junio: Getting comfortable being uncomfortable ~ Passion/Patin/Vitesse - Passion/Speed/Skating


27 mai 2018

Gilmore Junio: Getting comfortable being uncomfortable

By: Maria Dalton
Photos by: Schaats Foto’s and Gilmore Junio’s personal collection

Gilmore has always loved being on the ice, and started playing hockey at the age of seven. He, along with countless other young Canadians, always dreamed of one day being an NHL superstar. While his journey in sport started on ice, it wasn’t until he was 13 that he started speed skating after his dad saw an ad on the TV for a speed skating ID camp at the Olympic Oval in Calgary. After being approached by a coach who saw some potential in his skating, he joined the club that fall and fell in love with the community and the sport. He started out skating both long track and short track, but chose to focus more on short track since it favoured his stature until the age of 18 when he moved to long track full time. In the years since he first stepped onto the ice at the Olympic oval, Gilmore has competed in two Olympic games, broken the team sprint world record and stood atop the podium at world cup events. He won his first world cup medal, a silver in Nagano, during the 2012-2013 season. He is known, perhaps most notably, for his incredible display of sportsmanship when he gave up his spot in the 1000m at the Sochi Olympics to teammate Denny Morrison, who would go on to win silver in the event.

After a very successful 2015-2016 season, Gilmore was feeling good heading into the following season. He had a great mentality leading up to the following world cup season – “I felt like I was on top of the world leading into the 2016-2017 season and I said to myself ‘I’ve been at the top, I’ve flirted with being a really good skater, and now I‘m going to do it. Then the season went totally awry.’” After his world cup season was cut short Gilmore headed back to Calgary to regroup and refocus, and although everything took a toll on him he knew that he needed to make a change. Gilmore approached Jeremy Wotherspoon when he was in town for the World Sprint Championships with the idea of potentially moving to Norway to train. He has been training in Calgary since he started skating at the age of 13, and although he has been lucky to have the support of his friends and family at all times, he was eager to switch things up – “in order for me to really grow as an athlete or person I needed to really try to branch out and see what was out there.”

Moving to Norway, what were the biggest takeaways for you?

“You know seeing the quality of training that Jeremy brought to a lot of the programs, it was his main focus. He didn’t care if your heart rate was the highest, how much you sweat. But if the quality was in your training, he was really happy. I learned that you don’t have to grind, you have to make sure you’re doing things the right way and at a good quality. I think I got really comfortable being in Calgary and just created this routine. So I wanted to create an environment where I challenged myself. Before the move I was all about the grind and everything was supposed to be hard, and you know Jeremy had to reinforce the fact that it wasn’t about making it hard, but doing it right.”

How important do you think it is for people to put themselves in uncomfortable situations?

“No athlete would have the success they’ve had if they weren’t very rigid on what they want to accomplish and how they want to accomplish it. But the same token, you have to be able to open yourself up to new ways of thinking about your sport, new techniques. And opening yourself up to a new way to go about things and a new perspective is how people can grow and accomplish more than what their initial goal is.”

How do you see yourself progressing in sport in the next few years? Do you have any specific goals?

“For myself, I’m definitely not getting any younger. So I think changing the way I have to look at my body, on more of the self-regeneration and nutrition side, and really emphasizing those things. I’ve done the training in the past and I know I can do the training, but it’s just trying to tweak the little things and allowing the body to do what it can do and not have it be bogged down. That’s kind of the approach I’m taking right now with how to progress from this Olympic cycle.”

“I’m at the point where I can take it year by year now. You know the big four years are done and I’m just trying to find those little improvements and trying to see if I can stay competitive with the younger guys that are coming up – just trying to keep improving and find the little things that will make me faster.”

Aside from skating, Gilmore hopes to finish the final year of his kinesiology degree at the University of Calgary, and is also looking at dabbling in media relations or marketing, although he can’t say for sure when it comes to the latter. He is trying to set himself up for the future when he’s not skating anymore because “I put a lot of years into skating and I really advanced myself in that realm but you know, the ‘Gilmore Junio’ side needs a little love.”

Although no one can say for sure what the future holds for Gilmore Junio, you can be sure that he’ll keep trying to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

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