CALGARY — Olympian Danielle Wotherspoon-Gregg announced Thursday her decision to retire from competitive long track speed skating.
The 34-year-old athlete from Red Deer skated internationally for seven seasons and realized her Olympic dream by participating in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, where she placed 33rd in the 500m. She made her World Cup debut in 2003.
“Throughout the years I have met many coaches, teammates, as well as competitors from Canada and all from around the world. All of these people impacted my life not only as a skater but also as a person and I will always remember the lessons I have learned from them,” Wotherspoon-Gregg said in a news release.
Wotherspoon-Gregg originally planned to retire in 2010 but an injury kept her from realizing her Olympic dream in Vancouver, so she stayed on for four more years.
“My body knows it is finished with hard training and my mind needs to focus on other things, but I am truly thankful for this sport and for all of the opportunities it has given me and for all the amazing people I have met on my journey,” she said.
“I hope to keep involved in the sport in the future and keep cheering on my teammates as well as to help younger skaters find their paths.”
Wotherspoon-Gregg has a degree in international relations from the University of Calgary and is the founder of Team Icespire, a group of Canadian national team skaters that includes husband Jamie Gregg. Team Icespire’s goal is to inspire and empower their community through sport, teamwork, healthy living and respect according to their website www.teamicespire.com.
“Danielle was an excellent teammate,” said her coach Michael Crowe. “She was like a team mom who kept us organized and on point. She was a great example for our team, on focus, maximizing her technical points at every practice to get the most out of herself.”
Speed Skating Canada president Marie-Claire Rouleau congratulated Wotherspoon-Gregg on her career and thanked her for her contribution to the sport.
“Danielle was not only a great athlete, she was also a role model for her teammates because of her focus, her sense of organization and her hard work at every practice, which allowed her to achieve her Olympic dream in 2014,” Rouleau said.
“On behalf of Speed Skating Canada’s community, congratulations Danielle and good luck for your next challenges.”