Canada’s Filipino speedskater, Gilmore Junio, returns to Winter Olympics

by Quay Evano, ABS-CBN News

CALGARY — Canada’s first Filipino speedskater, Gilmore Junio, is back on the country’s official team for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea — and his parents couldn’t be more proud.

“It’s amazing kasi siyempre kakilala nila ang Olympian and being knowing him personally it is really a big honor, and you know we are so proud,” said mother Julie.

“For the second time of course na he made it to the Canadian Olympic team in speedskating, of course we are very proud of him and I’m sure the rest of the Filipinos here in Canada na proud rin sa kanya,” said father Gino.

The 27-year-old Calgary-born Pinoy rose to fame four years ago when he gave up his spot to teammate Denny Morrison in a remarkable display of sportsmanship at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

When Morrison won silver, the country celebrated the two friends, who in turn celebrated the victory together.

Now, Junio is ready once again to compete, but Junio’s parents say the journey to the Olympics was harder this time around.

“Unlike in Sochi, Russia there are five speedskater na pinadala, this year, only three.  Kinut down. So this year, the tryout this year for the Olympics was really stressful for the kids. Because there are five, four of them that are really, really good that anybody can win the race but one has to be out.”

Even though Junio suffered injuries last year, his parents believe he can bring home a medal, especially after training in Norway with a new coach.

“He is training in Norway, with Jeremy Witherspoon as his coach so just to change the environment and to motivate him again to push him as much as he can na maging you knowhe can get that motivation to get more better.”

“I think his influence is a good asset for Gilmore to be better and so yung kanyan perception sa kanyang training is to have that motivation and at the same time to be a better athlete.

While Junio is already in South Korea to train with the rest of the Canadian team, his family will soon follow to watch and cheer for their two-time Olympian son.

“His achievement is really, really amazing for a Filipino because even ourselves, we don’t skate. And for him to come to that top level, international level, you know to be an elite skater in international level, that’s very amazing achievement for him.”

Win or lose, Gilmore’s parents say that their son is already is a champion.

Junio’s parents hope that their son will get all the support from Filipinos and Canadians everywhere when Gilmore starts his race on February 13.

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