Speedskaters young and old couldn’t wait to get a couple minutes with Olympian Denny Morrison at the Fort St. John Elks Long Track Speedskating Camp on Monday, August 20. Whether it was to sign helmets or give advice, Morrison was smiling and enjoying the opportunity to interact with the next generation of speed skaters.
Morrison is here all week for the camp, something he’s very excited about.
“It’s super cool. This is the first time in a while I’ve been here, and had enough time to spend a whole week and help skaters here. I’m usually just here for a couple days or a week doing my own training, but now I can spend lots of time with them and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish this week,” Morrison said.
Morrison is joined by coach Arno Hoogveld, as well as Elks coaches Richard Stickel and Jenn Gibson.
“The coaches here are great. Richard literally coached me here the year before I left for Calgary, and Arno coached me at my first junior world championship in 2003. They have a wealth of coaching knowledge, and it’s great to have that level of coaching here in Fort St. John,” said Morrison.
Having the coaches here gives Morrison the opportunity to pass on his routine and experiences to the skaters, while the coaches can provide the correct way to go about doing things, a duality Morrison appreciates.
Morrison isn’t leaving town when camp ends, however. He will joined by the rest of the Canadian National Speed Skating Team for the national training camp at the Pomeroy Sport Centre, August 27 to September 7.
“It’s funny, growing up in Fort St. John you’d never see a national team come here, but now we have an awesome oval, and I can show my peers and teammates both Fort St. John the city and the beautiful areas around it,” Morrison said.
Much has been written about Morrison’s comeback from a motorcycle crash and stroke to make his fourth Olympics in February, and he was eager to talk about the experience.
“It was life changing. I’m still putting it all together, as it’s ongoing and there’s many facets to this story. I’ve been asking myself why I made the comeback in the first place and it has to do with how I made the Olympics for the first time as a 20-year-old and became a world champion.
Skating, training, and competing is just what I do, and there wasn’t an option to stop,” Morrison said.
The comeback is ongoing. Six months ago, Morrison had knee injury to repair ligaments damaged in the crash. His team decided not to do it before the Olympics, but as a result he’s still unable to do crossovers, and is being out-skated by the kids at camp.
“My focus is to once again get back in shape and to compete again,” he said.
He’s also able to take lots of University courses while he rehabs, as he wants to go to medical school and become a doctor, one of the few goals he has yet to achieve.
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at email@example.com.