Alex Boisvert-Lacroix wins silver & Ivanie Blondin earns bronze at ISU World Cup Long Track event in Heerenveen

Heerenveen, Netherlands, December 13, 2015 – Alex Boisvert-Lacroix won a silver medal in the men's 500m, his second of the weekend in this distance, while Ivanie Blondin came up with bronze in the women's mass start, Sunday, at the ISU World Cup Long Track Speed Skating competition held in Heerenveen, Netherlands.

Canada therefore tallied four medals at this fourth stage of the World Cup season, including a bronze in Friday's 500m by Boisvert-Lacroix and gold in the men's team sprint on the same day, for a total of 23 podium results since the start of the 2015-2016 season. That is already the best performance by the Canadian team since it won 29 over the 2009-2010 season.

Alex Boisvert-Lacroix of Sherbrooke, QC, once again found himself on the podium, Sunday, after skating in the second men's 500m of the weekend. He collected silver with a time of 34.76. Russia's Ruslan Murashov (34.67) won gold while Norway's Espen Aarnes Hvammen (34,86) picked up bronze.

Skating in the race's last pairing, the 28-year-old Canadian athlete was matched up for the very first time with World Cup standings leader Pavel Kulizhnikov. The Russian skater fell coming out of the first turn, however, letting Boisvert-Lacroix finish his race alone.

From the outside lane, Boisvert-Lacroix registered his best-ever time off the start, i.e. 9.48 seconds. That was also the best time of the day in that section, which led to both Boisvert-Lacroix and Kulizhnikov being almost nose to nose coming out of the first turn.

“I was off like a rocket, it was my best opening ever and I went into the first turn in the right way, but then I saw Pavel fall in front of me, a few metres away from me,” explained Boisvert-Lacroix. “It surprised me a bit and I even had to hold back a little on the crossover to let Pavel go by in front of me to avoid coming into contact with him. But after that, I was able to get back in gear and with the help of my coach, I was able to refocus on my race. Under the circumstances, I'm quite happy about ending up on the podium.”

“My coaches told me that his fall was probably caused by the fact that I put a lot of pressure on him, and he had to come into the first turn with a great deal of power, and that's what probably caused him to lose balance or his boot to touch the ice, because he was trying too hard. He knew I was going to come out right behind him, so he didn't have any other choice than to go all out.”

“There's a part of me that's disappointed, however, because I didn't have the chance to go down the last straight alongside Kulizhnikov,” added Boisvert-Lacroix. “We'll have to wait until next time for that to happen.”

Aside from Boisvert-Lacroix, two other Canadian skaters finished in the top-5. Alexandre St-Jean of Québec City ended up one hundredth of a second away from the podium, finishing fourth with a time of 34.87, followed by Laurent Dubreuil (34.90) of Lévis, QC, who was fifth. Gilmore Junio of Calgary was 13th (35.183) while William Dutton of Humboldt, SK, was 18th (35.44).

In the women's 500m, Heather McLean of Winnipeg, MB, was 10th in 38.30. Marsha Hudey of White City, SK finished 16th in 38.73

A bronze for Ivanie Blondin
Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa, for her part, won her fourth medal in as many races this season in the women's mass start. On Sunday, the 25-year-old skater got hold of her second bronze medal. She has yet to come up with a win this season in this event.

Japan's Misaki Oshigiri won gold while silver went to Dutch skater Carien Kleibeuker. The leader in overall mass start World Cup standings, Irene Schouten of the Netherlands, had to settle for 10th place.

“This is a bronze medal that I will appreciate greatly,” said Ivanie Blondin. “Misaki Oshigiri and Carien Kleibeuker skated out way in front. I was a little bit surprised by that and the gap was too great for me to do anything about it. So I stayed calm and I worked to my strengths. My goal was to finish ahead of Schouten and that's what I was able to do by making the first move on her. I acted a little bit like I did in short track to make sure she didn't go by me in the last straight.”

That was the last mass start race on the World Cup schedule before the one slated for the World Cup Finals. Blondin, the reining World Cup champion in that discipline, is presently second in mass start standings with 300 points, behind Schouten who has 316 points.

“As for the title, that will all depend on the World Cup Final. I'm really working forward to that!”, said Ivanie Blondin.

In the men's mass start, Jordan Belchos of Toronto was seventh while Rob Watson of Whitby, ON, was 22nd.

Career performances
In the men's 1500m, Vincent De Haître of Cumberland, ON, finished ninth in 1:46.19, for his best career placing in that distance. In his first A division 1500m races this season, De Haître went from a 16th-place finish in Calgary to 12th place in Salt Lake City and 11th place in Inzell to end up ninth just before the Christmas break.

“Overall, I'm pretty happy with my 1500m,” said Vincent de Haître. “The last time I skated a 1500m here, I was in the 1:51 range, which is five seconds slower than I was today. So that's a testament to how well training has been going for me. I feel I can keep this up and hopefully I can finish in the top-5 for the season.”

In the women's 1500m, Kali Christ of Regina, SK, finished 16th (1:59.55).

In the B division, Brianne Tutt of Airdrie, AB, Isabelle Weidemann of Ottawa, ON, and Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, QC, all came up with their best-ever placings in a long track 1500m.

Tutt was second with a time of 2:01.81, while Weidemann was seventh (2:03.29). Tutt's best showing so far had been a seventh-place finish in Salt Lake City last month. As for Weidemann, she had ended up 11th twice this season.

Olivier Jean, for his part, was sixth on the men's side with a time of 1:49.37, improving on his 14th-place finish from last week in Inzell.

Jean also came up with his best career placing in the mass start event with a third position in the B event Sunday. In Salt Lake City earlier this season, he finished fifth.
 
The fall World Cup season now being over, the Canadian long track skaters will start to prepare for the Canadian Single Distance Championships, which are set to take place January 3-6 at Calgary's Olympic Oval.

This competition will serve as a selection process for World Cup #5 in Stavanger, Norway, slated for January 29-31, the World Single Distance Championships February 11-4 in Kolomna, Russia, the World Sprint Championships February 27-28 in Seoul, South Korea, and the World Allround Championships March 5-6 in Berlin, Germany. The World Cup Final will bring a close to the season March 11-13 in Heerenveen, Netherlands.

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

500m (2) M - A
SILVER: Alex Boisvert-Lacroix: 34.76
4: Alexandre St-Jean: 34.87
5: Laurent Dubreuil: 34.90
13: Gilmore Junio: 35.18
19: William Dutton: 35.44

Mass Start W - A
BRONZE: Ivanie Blondin
10: Josie Spence

Mass Start M - A
7 : Jordan Belchos
22 : Rob Watson

1500m M - A
9: Vincent De Haître: 1:46.19

500m (2) W - A
10: Heather McLean: 38.30
16: Marsha Hudey: 38.73

1500m W - A
16: Kali Christ: 1:59.55

1500m W - B
2: Brianne Tutt: 2:01.81
7: Isabelle Weidemann: 2:03.29

Mass Start M - B
3: Olivier Jean

500m (2) W - B
5: Kaylin Irvine: 39.36

1500m M - B
6: Olivier Jean: 1:49.37

Mass Start W - B
10: Isabelle Weidemann

More details, including the race schedule, are available at Speed Skating Canada's website at www.speedskating.ca.

About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for competitive long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, the association is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial branches representing more than 14,000 individual members, and counting. SSC believes that sport is an apprenticeship for life and prizes respect for others, integrity, excellence of effort, as well as a safe, healthy environment. 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.

SSC is proud to be affiliated with partners that share the same vision and values including our premium sponsors Intact Insurance, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.

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For information:
Patrick Godbout
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca
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Kerry Dankers
Long Track Program and Communications Coordinator
Speed Skating Canada
Email: kdankers@speedskating.ca
Phone: 403-589-8960
Website: www.speedskating.ca  
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