Canadian speed skater Gilmore Junio gives up 1000-metre berth to Denny Morrison

WATCH: Canadians are showing how strong they are in winter sports, but they’re also demonstrating a strong show of sportsmanship. Paul Johnson reports.

UPDATE: Denny Morrison went on to win silver in the 1000-metre event

Gilmore Junio of Calgary has given up his spot in Wednesday’s 1000-metre speed skating race to his teammate Denny Morrison.

In a press release from the Canadian Olympic Committee, 23-year-old Junio said he made the decision because it would improve Canada’s medal chances.

“I believe it’s in the best interest of the team if [Morrison] races,” Junio said in the release. “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”.
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Morrison fell just before the finish line in the 1000-metre qualifications in Calgary, and so didn’t qualify for the event. But he’s ranked 6th in the world at that distance. Junio ranks 41st. Morrison did qualify for the 1500-metre and will also compete in the team pursuit.

WATCH: David Boushy reports on how Gilmore Junio’s sacrifice paid off for Team Canada

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

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Junio competed in the 500-metre race on Monday, coming in 10th. He isn’t scheduled for any other races. He tweeted that this was the end of his competition in Sochi.

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The 1000-metre race begins Wednesday at 9 a.m. Eastern Time (6 a.m. Pacific). Morrison will skate alongside fellow Canadians Vincent De Haître, Muncef Ouardi and William Dutton.

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