Kate Hanly and Juliette Wheler announce their retirement from competitive speed skating
Speed Skating Canada – Calgary, July 21, 2016 – Kate Hanly of Calgary, AB, and Juliette Wheler of Saskatoon, SK, who have both competed internationally representing Canada in long track speed skating, have announced their retirement.
Kate Hanly, 22, who received Speed Skating Canada’s Long Track Rising Star Award in 2013, decided to step away from speed skating in order to explore new opportunities outside of sport. Hanly competed in no less than five World Junior Championships from 2009-2013, coming away with one bronze medal in the 1000m event at the 2012 competition in Obihiro, Japan. She also competed as a senior in the 1500m and Team Pursuit events in four World Cups during the 2014-2015 season, with her best placing coming in the Team Pursuit where the team finished 4th in World Cup #1.
“I arrived at my decision to leave skating on the tail end of a transformative experience I had living in Haida Gwaii (in British Columbia) this past winter,” said Kate Hanly. “Being surrounded by such immense beauty and a vibrant community full of passion for positive change, I found myself drawn towards new ambitions. I am sad to be leaving skating, but am extremely excited to start to explore new dreams.”
Kate Hanly was very thankful to many people, including her family, teammates, coaches and the speed skating community.
“My most memorable experience was winning a bronze medal in the 1000m at the World Junior Championships in 2012. This was a pretty special moment for me because I got to celebrate it with my best friends at the time – Josie (Spence) and Heather (McLean). It felt like we had accomplished it together because of how we had pushed each other all year, and their genuine joy for me was truly incredible. Their hugs and smiles will be with me forever, I cannot thank them enough for that moment.”
“I would like to thank a huge list of people,” added Kate Hanly. “It’s impossible to list them all, but most notably my family for supporting me through my skating career. They were always there for me whether it was cheering, filming – sometimes throwing iPads onto the ice! –, even doing some training sessions with me while on vacation. This kind of love and support was, and continues to be, absolutely invaluable. I would also like to thank my coaches. Jack Walters taught me from a young age how hard work can pay off and he helped build the confidence I needed to pursue bigger dreams, while my final coach Xiuli Wang brought so much joy to my last year of skating. I cannot speak highly enough of her abilities as a coach, but what makes her unique is the dedication she gives to her athletes. It was an honor to be able to finish my career working with such an incredible woman. And of course a big thank you to the speed skating community; I could not have achieved much without the support of our tight knit community – so much thanks and love!”
Hanly will complete her bachelor’s degree at the University of Calgary next year and is looking to pursue a career in the environmental field after her graduation. She currently holds a community outreach position with Green Calgary.
Juliette Wheler to leave the ice and hit the road
Juliette Wheler, 19, has decided to cycle full time as she has spent her career speed skating in the winter months and cycling in the summer.
Wheler has represented Canada at two World Junior Championships including in 2014 in Bjugn, Norway, and in 2015, in Warsaw, Poland, where she was part of the team sprint that finished 5th. Last season, Wheler was unable to compete and fully train because of health issues.
“I have decided to move on from speed skating because even though I will always love the sport, I was finding new passions that eclipsed the one I once had for speed skating,” she said.
Wheler went on to thank her support system and the skating community in which she developed as a young athlete.
“I would like to thank my coaches, teammates and supporters who led me through the last few difficult years,” she said. “Even though I am choosing a different path, the love I felt from so many people through speed skating will always be cherished!”
Wheler plans to pursue competitive road and track cycling and eventually enroll in post-secondary education in B.C. while exploring opportunities.
More details are available at Speed Skating Canada’s website at www.speedskating.ca.
About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for competitive long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, the association is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial branches representing more than 14,000 individual members, and counting. SSC believes that sport is an apprenticeship for life and prizes respect for others, integrity, excellence of effort, as well as a safe, healthy environment. SSC recognizes and values its outstanding volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise. It also celebrates the 63 Olympic medals won by Canadian athletes since 1932, as well as the coaches, officials and other dedicated individuals who helped them on their journey.
SSC is proud to be affiliated with partners that share the same vision and values including our premium sponsors Intact Insurance, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, City of Montreal, Calgary Olympic Oval and WinSport Canada.
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Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Phone: 514 213-9897
Long Track Program and Communications Coordinator
Speed Skating Canada