Olympic Medalist Shannon Rempel Joins Canadian Long Track Program as Assistant Coach

Winnipeg native will work closely with the sprint and women’s allround training groups

CALGARY, ALBERTA – Former Canadian national team member and 2006 Olympic silver medalist Shannon Rempel is joining the long track program as an Assistant Coach. The Winnipeg native will be a tremendous asset to National and NextGen team skaters as they prepare for Beijing 2022 and beyond.

Based out of the Olympic Oval in Calgary, Rempel will assist fellow national team coaches Mark Wild and Remmelt Eldering to support their respective training groups – sprint and women’s allround –and assist with the monitoring and preparation of skaters for national and international competitions. While she has coached with the Calgary Grizzlies Speed Skating Club since 2003, most recently in their long track competitive stream, this new position will mark the 35-year old’s entry into the world of high performance coaching.

A two-time Olympian, Rempel helped Canada win silver in the Team Pursuit at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, alongside teammates Kristina Groves, Clara Hughes, Cindy Klassen and Christine Nesbitt. The sprint and middle distance specialist also participated in the 500m, 1000m and 1500m in 2006, as well as the 500m and 1000m at Vancouver 2010.

Rempel won a total of eleven World Cup medals from 2006 to 2009, including two gold, and represented Canada at nine ISU World Sprint Championships and nine ISU World Single Distance Championships, winning gold as a member of the Team Pursuit squad in 2007.

A dominate junior skater, she captured 10 medals at the ISU World Junior Championship medals from 2001 to 2004 and is the only Canadian women to reach the overall podium at the event twice, winning gold in 2003 and bronze in 2004. She also broke three world junior records during her career and still holds the Canadian junior record in the 500m (38.53 seconds), which has stood since 2003.

Rempel officially retired from competitive skating in 2018 after competing internationally for Canada for nearly two decades. She holds a Bachelor of Communications from the University of Calgary and was most recently employed as a Disability Case Manage with Sun Life Financial.

QUOTES

“I am so excited for the opportunity to work with an incredibly talented group of athletes, alongside exceptional coaches and support team within Speed Skating Canada. I have always dreamed of coaching at an elite level, so I’m really looking forward to this new role and being able to share my knowledge and experience with this team.” – Shannon Rempel

Q&A

  • What does this new role mean to you?

    • Coaching with the national team allows me to live my passion and give back to a sport that provided me so many opportunities and experiences. It’s also an opportunity for me to learn from some of the best coaches and really grow as a coach.
  • What do you think you bring to the national team? 

    • I think there is a lot of value having a female coach within a team, it allows for a different perspective which is important. I also bring experiences as an athlete that are relatively recent, but with a renewed sense of energy and passion as a coach.
  • How do you think you will be able to help the athletes? 

    • A benefit of having a former athlete as a coach is that I spent many years working through the technical challenges and intricacies of skating. One of my strengths is understanding body mechanics and the technical aspects of skating and communicating that feedback creatively.I think I’ll be able to assist the skater to improve technically on and off the ice, and I’ll be another source of support during daily training and competitions.
  • Why did you want to get involved in coaching at this level?

    • I learned so much during my career from some of the best athletes and coaches in the world, and I always felt that it was my duty to share that with the next generation of elite speed skaters. I love seeing people succeed, and it will be rewarding being a part of that process as a coach.
  • How has your time as a national team skater prepared you for a transition to coaching? 

    • Having spent 17 years on the national team, I’m able to relate to the athletes.I understand the lifestyle, how grueling the training is, the successes and failures, along with the responsibilities, expectations, and drive required as a high-performance athlete.I hope to pass along all the lessons and values I learned while I was a skater and help them to become better athletes.
  • Any advice for athletes looking to make that transition? 

    • I found it valuable to take some time away from sport. It allowed me to gain exposure to different environments, and apply my skills in other areas, and really expand my experiences and skill set. I also coached at the club level which brought me back to the basics and foundations of sport. I’m now able to bring a fresh and new perspective which I think will help me be a more well rounded and prepared coach.
  • Tell us about a coach that has had an impact on your career and what made them special. 

    • I’ve had many coaches throughout the years that have had a significant impact on my career. Xuili Wang was one of them, she was my coach for four years between 2006 and 2010. She knew how to get the best out of me and pushed me out of my comfort zone. She worked hard to make me better every day, and she was tough, but we had a relationship built on trust, and I knew that she believed in me. Her passion for speed skating and her athletes inspired me to be better and to succeed.