Giroux back competing after speedskating flap ironed out
Federation wanted him to move to Calgary, but he wanted to stay in Montreal to finish school
Turbulent waters have been stilled. Ruffled feathers smoothed.
Mathieu Giroux is back in the good graces, and on the ice.
“I’m very happy that we’ve moved on,” said the 26-year-old from Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., as the Canadian Single Distance Championships got underway Thursday at the Olympic Oval. “We couldn’t agree for a while. We both had a position. And I think both had merit.
“I’m just glad we finally agreed on some things moving forward.”
A dispute between the Canadian Speed Skating Federation and Giroux, a part of Canada’s 2010 gold-medal winning pursuit team, briefly put the athlete on ice. Instead of on the ice. Owing to school commitments in pharmacy at the University of Montreal, he wanted to remain in Montreal.
So he was banished from the national team and had his monthly stipend of $2,000 revoked.
Cooler heads, fortunately, prevailed.
“It’s a really, really unique situation,” said Giroux. “There’s no pharmacy school here in Calgary” —- the nearest one is at the University of Alberta, three hours north of here — “and there’s no long-track in Montreal. So there was no precedence.
“A week ago we had two meetings, right in final exam week in Montreal, but I took time to sit down with them and we came up with a plan that makes everybody happy.”
Giroux will stay down east through his class schedule, the winter semester, and then move here full-time for the lead-in year to the Olympics.
“The next four months at school I have a little more space, so I can go to a World Cup in Inzell and then the Sochi World Singles, too, hopefully.”
On Thursday, Giroux, the 2012 champion in the men’s 1,500 metres, finished second in the men’s 1,500 metres to Guilliaume Blais-Dufour.
“You always want to defend your title. I won last year. But I’ve only skated, like, five days in the last two months, so I don’t have that many chances to skate on the long-track ice. But I’m pretty happy I can transition that quick. And I hope that next year, when I’m here full-time, I’ll be way better, way faster.”
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