Connor Howe wins first career World Cup gold in Heerenveen
Isabelle Weidemann claims second 3000m medal of the season
HEERENVEEN, NETHERLANDS – Connor Howe captured the first World Cup victory of his career on the final day of the ISU World Cup Speed Skating in Heerenveen, taking gold in the men’s 1500m. Isabelle Weidemann also stood on the podium at the Thialf arena, skating to silver in the women’s 3000m.
Going to the line in the penultimate pair of the men’s 1500m, Howe was aware of the leading pace set by two Dutch athletes – reigning Olympic Champion Kjeld Nuis (1:43.64) and Thomas Krol (1:43.83). The 22-year-old rose to the occasion, skating the fifth fastest time ever recorded at the Thialf arena to win the gold medal by a margin of 0.26 seconds.
The result marks Howe’s first win on the senior World Cup circuit. Building on his fifth-place finish in the 1500m at the Olympic Games in Beijing, the native of Canmore, Alta. now has two medals in two races of the distance this season, having captured silver last weekend in Norway.
Weidemann also stood on the podium for a second consecutive week, earning silver in the women’s 3000m to better her third-place finish from Stavanger. Weidemann found herself paired against the home crowd favourite once again and, while Irene Schouten would go on to win the race with a track record time of 3:54.04, the Ottawa, Ont. native put forth a strong skate to cross the line in 3:57.70. Ragne Wiklund of Norway took bronze (3:58.31).
The Canadian long track team will return from Europe for a short training block in advance of three back-to-back events on home soil. The ISU Four Continents Speed Skating Championships – the inaugural international competition at the new Centre de glaces Intact Assurance – takes place in Quebec City on December 2-4 before skaters travel to the Calgary Olympic Oval for the final two World Cups of 2022.
- “With the level of skaters competing today, I would have been happy just to make the podium. So getting the gold felt incredible! My goal was to combine a good start with a relaxed first lap, then carry the speed, and that happened for me today. It’s been a great start to the season and I’m looking forward to keeping it going at the World Cups in Calgary this December!” – Connor Howe
- “I’m really happy with how it went today. I’m very surprised with the time that I skated, because I was a little bit sick this week and I’m not feeling great, so I thought I was just going in to battle for some points. I haven’t actually raced Irene [Schouten] in a long time, so it was nice to see where the gap is that I have to close to beat her. She is setting a standard for women in long distance events right now and I really want to push that and contend with her.” – Isabelle Weidemann
- Connor Howe – 1st
- Tyson Langelaar – 18th
- Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu – 19th
- Hayden Mayeur – 11th (B Division)
- Carolina Hiller – 16th
- Brooklyn McDougall – 17th
- Rose Laliberté-Roy – 8th (B Division)
- Béatrice Lamarche – 16th (B Division)
- Isabelle Weidemann – 2nd
- Ivanie Blondin – 5th
- Valérie Maltais – 10th
- Béatrice Lamarche – 9th (B Division)
Men’s Team Sprint
- Christopher Fiola, Laurent Dubreuil, Connor Howe – 7th
Speed Skating Canada