Canadian Junio gives speed skating spot to Morrison

Canada's Gilmore Junio skates during the men's 500-metre long-track speed skating event at the...

Canada's Gilmore Junio skates during the men's 500-metre long-track speed skating event at the Adler Arena during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Feb. 10, 2014. (PHIL NOBLE/Reuters)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:47 PM ET

Gilmore Junio is taking one for the team.

The 23-year-old Calgary native has given up his spot in the 1,000-metre long-track speed skating event at the Sochi Olympics in favour of Fort St. John, B.C.’s Denny Morrison.

“How Denny is skating now, I believe it’s in the best interest of the team if he races,” Junio said in a statement. “To represent Canada at the Olympics is a huge honour and privilege but I believe that as Canadians, we’re not just here to compete; we are here to win. Denny has proven to be a consistent medal threat in the distance.”

Morrison, 28, would indeed be Canada’s best hope to medal in the 1,000m. He’s sixth in the World Cup standings at the distance and has won three world championship medals – two silver and a bronze – in the 1,000m discipline in his career.

He failed to qualify for the 1,000m in Sochi after falling 50m short of the finish line during the Canadian Olympic trials last month.

“Gil is a great teammate. He told me that he wanted me to race,” Morrison said. “This is an amazing gesture and I’m ready to make the most of this opportunity.”

Morrison was already in Sochi, having qualified for the 1,500m distance.

Competition for the 1,000m gets underway Wednesday.

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