Four-time world champion Marc Gagnon, 26, of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., is one of Canada's best chances for a medal. Gagnon, who has competed in the last two Winter Olympics, won a gold medal in the relay in 1998 and a bronze in the 1,000 in 1994. He's become Canada's most celebrated athlete in the sport.
But after the Nagano Olympics, he thought he was done. Gagnon hung up his blades after what he perceived to be a disappointing showing at the 1998 Games. Despite the relay gold, he struggled in his two individual events, the 500- and 1,000-metre races, finishing fourth and 16th. He felt he'd disappointed the entire nation. That retirement lasted only just over a year. Now, he skates simply for the love of the sport, ignoring outside pressures.
The 11-year national team member is a four-time overall World Cup champion, winning his last one in 1998. Including individual events, he is a 13-time World Cup champion. He'll compete in four events in Salt Lake City: the 500 metres, 1,000 metres, 1,500 metres and 5,000-metre relay.