Canada wins four medals on last day of ISU World Cup Long Track stage in Norway
Speed Skating Canada – Blondin leads way with silver in the 5000m & prequalifies for Olympics, men’s team sprint sets World Record
Stavanger, Norway, November 19, 2017 – The Canadian Long Track Speed Skating team won four medals, Sunday, on the last day of the second stage of the ISU World Cup season held in Stavanger, Norway, as Ivanie Blondin won silver in the women’s 5000m race and therefore unofficially prequalified for the Olympic Games in that distance, Ted-Jan Bloemen came up with silver in the first men’s 10,000m of the fall, the men’s team sprint won gold and set a world record, and the women’s team sprint won bronze its first time out.
In addition, Isabelle Weidemann came within less than one second of earning her first-ever individual World Cup medal by finishing fourth in the women’s 5000m.
Winner of a bronze medal in the 5000m distance at the 2017 ISU World Single Distance Championships, Ivanie Blondin (Ottawa, ON) was in a position to prequalify directly for the Olympics in this event by winning another medal at one of the four World Cups to be held this fall. That is what she did on Sunday, as she came up with silver with a time of 6:57.34.
She was the only skater to come within less than a second from the winner, Germany’s Claudia Pechstein, who won gold in 6:56.60. Blondin’s spot at the PyeongChang Games will become official as long as Canada qualifies at least two spots in this distance.
“I haven’t been that much focused on prequalifying – in fact, I had completely forgot about it until I saw (national team coach) Bart (Schouten) after the race and he reminded me. In the moment, I had a surge of emotion overcome me and I started to cry. It’s such a great feeling!” said Blondin.
“Before that, I was taking it day by day, training by training and race by race, and that helped me accomplish what I needed to do today to prequalify,” added Blondin. “Somehow it’s all coming together, I felt really good out there on the ice. In fact, it’s been the case all week, the ice felt fast for me.”
Czech skater Martina Sáblíková won bronze in the women’s 5000m with a time of 6:59.95, 0,87 seconds ahead of Isabelle Weidemann (Ottawa, ON), who skated the race in 7:00.82. Fourth spot is the best placing Weidemann as ever earned in a 5000m race at the senior international level. She was fifth in that distance at the 2017 World Single Distance Championships.
“This is my best finish ever so it’s exciting, but at the same time it’s bittersweet, because it’s close to the podium and yet, not quite good enough. It means things are going in the right direction, but there’s still a lot to work on,” said Weidemann, who skated in the same pairing as Pechstein. “I was pretty consistent in today’s race, I didn’t want to go out too hard because this ice is rather unforgiving, I wanted to be able to build towards the last couple of laps.”
“It’s great for Isabelle and I, it’s so motivating to see that we’re both skating so well and progressing in the right direction in this Olympic season,” added Ivanie Blondin.
Bloemen in another fierce battle with Kramer
Ted-Jan Bloemen (Calgary, ON) earned a silver medal in the first 10,000m event held this World Cup season. His time of 12:52.64 allowed him to finish second behind Dutch skater Sven Kramer (12:50.97), who won gold, and ahead of Erik-Jan Kooiman of the Netherlands (12:57.13), who collected bronze.
This is Ted-Jan Bloemen’s second individual medal this World Cup season, as he also won silver in the men’s 5000m event held last week at the first stage in Heerenveen, the Netherlands. Both times, Bloemen finished second to Kramer after the two skaters battled it out in the last pairing.
“It was a fun battle, it was a lot like last week’s race,” pointed out Bloemen. “Although I came up a little bit short in the last lap, I’m happy with the pace and energy I showed overall.
“Still, I have to work on some things, I need to get a bit faster,” added Bloemen. “It’s a bit frustrating when you set the pace the whole race and then, at the end, there’s a challenge you can’t meet. At least, I sensed that (Kramer) had to give it everything, and that the 1.6-second gap there was today, was really a 1.6-second gap, which is not very big.”
Bloemen’s medal bring him a step closer to the 2018 Olympic Games. If he finishes among the top 5 in the Special Olympic Qualification Classification (SOQC), an overall ranking that takes into account the four World Cup stages to be held this fall, he would be prequalified for the men’s 10,000m (as per some conditions, including that Canada qualifies at least two spots in this event).
Jordan Belchos (Markham, ON) placed 10th in the 10,000m A group with a time of 13:10.30, while Graeme Fish (Moose Jaw, SK) skated to a 14th-place result in group B (13:25.83) at his first-ever World Cup.
Men’s team sprint: another gold and a World Record
For the second straight stage this World Cup season, Canada won gold and set a new world record time in the men’s team sprint, as Gilmore Junio (Calgary, AB), Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (Sherbrooke, QC), and Vincent De Haître (Cumberland, ON) skated to victory in 1:19.52, ahead of Norway (1:19.84) and the United States (1:20.58).
“My throat’s sore, but other than that, the world record feels good,” said De Haître, who was sick earlier this week, which affected his results in the 1000m (8th) and the 1500m (19th). “I had a couple of bad races, so my confidence wasn’t great, but I knew that as a team, we would do well together and that we would pull this off. I’m glad my teammates believed in me, although I’m sure no matter who skates for Canada in the team sprint, they would do the job.”
“I was really tense before the race,” said Boisvert-Lacroix, who was skating in the team sprint event for the first time. “I was afraid I’d be a burden to the team, and I wanted to do well for the guys who were on the bench after skating last weekend (Laurent Dubreuil and Alexandre St-Jean). But it went better, and it was easier that I thought it would be. We’ll see if I skate on the team again in two weeks in Calgary, but I’m confident that no matter who is on the team, we will set another world record at the Olympic Oval because the ice is so fast.”
Women’s team sprint medals its first time out
As Canada was taking part in its first women’s team sprint event in this World Cup season, Marsha Hudey (White City, SK), Kali Christ (Regina, SK) and Kaylin Irvine (Calgary, AB) skated to a time of 1:28.85 on its way to bronze, to finish less than a second away from gold-medal winner South Korea (1:28.09) and silver-medalist Norway (1:28.48), and ahead of the United States (1:32.69) by over three seconds.
“We worked really well together out there, considering that this was a new combination of skaters, that we hadn’t skated together in a race before today,” said Marsha Hudey.
“We had a plan before the race, then we adjusted it twice during the warmup. We executed it really well in the race,” pointed Kaylin Irvine, who won her first career medal on the World Cup circuit.
“It was an awesome feeling to be out there on the podium, although I felt tired because I had to skate three laps out there,” said Kali Christ.
The next World Cup stage will take place in Calgary, AB, Dec. 1-3. Tickets are available at: https://oval.ucalgary.ca/worldcup.
More details are available at Speed Skating Canada’s website at www.speedskating.ca.
TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS
Team Sprint – M
GOLD: Canada (1:19.52)
(Gilmore Junio, Alex Boisvert-Lacroix, Vincent De Haître)
5000m – W
SILVER: Ivanie Blondin (6:57.34)
4. Isabelle Weidemann (7:00.82)
10,000m – M
SILVER: Ted-Jan Bloemen (12:52.64)
10. Jordan Belchos (13:10.30)
Team Sprint – W
BRONZE: Canada (1:28.85)
(Marsha Hudey, Kaylin Irvine, Kali Christ)
5000m (B) – W
13. Victoria Spence (7:16.03)
10,000m (B) – M
14. Graeme Fish (13:25.83)
About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, SSC is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial associations. Speed Skating Canada is committed to Challenge and Inspire Canada to Thrive through the power of Speed Skating. 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. www.speedskating.ca
Speed Skating Canada would like to thank its sponsors:
Premium partner: Intact Insurance
Funding partners: Government of Canada (Sport Canada), Own The Podium, Canadian Olympic Committee
Official On-Ice High Performance Apparel: Li-Ning
Long Track Team Sponsor: KIA
Official Suppliers: Auclair, USANA
Official Technical Equipment Supplier: Nagano Skate
Sport Development Partners: Winsport Canada, Calgary’s Olympic Oval, University of Calgary, Institut national du sport du Québec, Government of Quebec, Canadian Sport Institute-Calgary, City of Montreal, Quebec City, Excellence sportive Québec-Lévis
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Long Track Program and Communications Coordinator
Speed Skating Canada
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Phone: 514 213-9897