Olivier Jean has one of the larger personalities on the Canadian short track team, which combined with his veteran status makes him one of the team leaders.

Competing on the senior international circuit since 2006-07 when he was named Speed Skating Canada’s Rising Star for short track, Jean had a career-year in 2011-12. He won the overall World Cup title in the 500m on the strength of victories in all four of his 500m World Cup races. He was also third in the World Cup 1000m standings with three podium finishes. He capped the season with a gold medal in the 500m at the world championships and was rewarded as Speed Skating Canada’s Male Short Track Skater of the Year, ending the run of five straight wins by Charles Hamelin.

Jean made his Olympic debut at Vancouver 2010 where he captured gold as a member of the 5000m relay team. He came close to an individual medal as well, finishing fourth in the 1500m.

Jean’s career has not been without adversity. He missed a full season when in August 2007 a training accident resulted in a skate slicing through the protective Kevlar guard on his ankle and severing a tendon. He underwent surgery and returned to compete at the World Cup team trials in September 2008. He missed two World Cup stops in 2012-13 due to a concussion.

Jean was also the target of sabotage at the 2011 World Team Championships when he realized during the first lap of the 5000m relay that one of his blades was broken. American skater Simon Cho would admit in October 2012 to tampering with the skate, allegedly under orders from his then-coach Jae Su Chun. Cho offered a personal apology to Jean prior to going public with the admission.


Getting into the Sport: Started speed skating at age five… Was drawn to the extreme attitude and high speeds of short track… Comes from the generation of skaters inspired by Gaétan Boucher and later Nathalie Lambert, Marc Gagnon, Frédéric Blackburn and Eric Bédard… Odds and Ends: Studying kinesiology at l’Université de Québec à Montréal… Was nicknamed Jamaicanadian because of his affinity for Jamaican music and culture, especially reggae… Has worn inspirational t-shirts under his uniform with famous faces on them such as Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee or Rambo… Enjoys fishing… Favourite Olympic memory is Marc Gagnon and Jonathan Guilmette winning gold and silver in the 500m at Salt Lake City 2002… Always travels with his e-reader… Likes to collect local selections of alcohol during his travels… Former roommate of American short track speed skater Travis Jayner…