Blondin, Bloemen & Belchos come up with personal bests on first day of Speed Skating Long Track World Single Distance Championships

Canadians Ivanie Blondin (Ottawa, ON), Ted-Jan Bloemen (Calgary, AB) and Jordan Belchos (Markham, ON) all came up with career or season bests, Thursday, on the first day of the 2015 ISU Long Track Speed Skating World Single Distance Championships held in Heerenveen, Netherlands.

Blondin earned seventh place in the women's 3000m race, to improve on her 15th-place showing in 2013 and 14th-place result in 2011 in this distance at her two previous World Single Distance Championships.

Bloemen and Belchos, for their part, both skated to their personal best times this season at the international level, as they respectively finished sixth and 11th in the men's 10 000m race.

Blondin alongside Pechstein
Blondin, who skated with German legend Claudia Pechstein in the next-to-last pairing of the women's 3000m event, finished her race in four minutes 9.85 seconds. She was a little more than three seconds over her previous time in Heerenveen, when she finished fourth in 4:06.33 in the 3000m event held on Dec. 14 at a World Cup stage held in the Netherlands.

“I didn't expect such a good result, given how tired I felt before the race, after a month of intense training,” said Blondin. “So I'm pretty happy, I did the best I could under the circumstances.”

Blondin, who will also compete in the 5000m, mass start and team pursuit events later this week, has six medals on the World Cup circuit so far this season. She has two gold, two silver and a bronze medal in mass start and a bronze in the 5000m.

“My seventh place today really have me confidence for the rest of the week,” said Blondin. “I'm looking forward to my other races, especially the mass start on Sunday.”

Thursday, the Czech Republic's Martina Sábliková won gold in the women's 3000m with a time of 4:02.17, followed by two Dutch skaters. Ireen Wüst collected silver (4:03.46) and Marije Joling, bronze (4:05.51). Pechstein, who has three career Olympic medals in the 3000m, ended up fifth in 4:05.95.

The last medal won by a Canadian skater in the women's 3000m at the World Single Distance Championships dates back to 2009. That year, Kristina Groves won bronze in Richmond, B.C.

Bloemen sixth in the 10 000m
Bloemen finished the men's 10 000m, Thursday, in 13 minutes 17.24 seconds, while Belchos came up with a time of 13:41.72.

Earlier this season, Bloemen finished third of the B event of the 10 000m raced at the Seoul World Cup with a time of 13:35.77. That same day, Belchos was 12th in 14:07.96.

Bloemen, who last summer moved to Canada, his father's home country, is taking part in his first-ever World Single Distance Championships. He skated for the Netherlands at the 2010 and 2012 Wold All-Round Championships, finishing third in the 10 000m event in 2010 in that competition.

“I was able to stick to the plan, which was to keep my position and my technique until the very end, so it was a good race from that standpoint,” said Bloemen. “Long races like that are hard.”

Belchos' 11th-place result, Thursday, matches the rank he earned in the 10 000m race at the 2013 World Single Distance Championships. He was 13th in 2011.

“It wasn't my best race, but it wasn't my worst either,” said Belchos, who learned only on Wednesday night that he would be skating in the 10 000m, in addition to the team pursuit, the original competition he was slated for. “I was excited about getting an extra race in. I was still able to prepare well mentally.”

Dutch skaters finished 1-2 in Thursday's race, with Jorrit Bergsma winning gold in 12:54.82 and Erik Jan Kooiman earning silver in 13:02.57. Germany's Patrick Beckert picked up bronze in 13:10.95.

No Canadian skater has won a medal in the men's 10 000m since the World Single Distance Championships were launched in 1996.

Friday's races
Friday, Blondin will be back in action in the women's 5000m, a distance in which she won a bronze medal earlier this World Cup season. Olympic medalist Denny Morrison (Fort St. John, B.C.), who has eight individual medals at the World Single Distance Championships over his career, the highest total among active Canadian skaters, will be taking part in the men's 1500m, as will Alec Janssens (Chilliwack, B.C.).

The day of competition, to be webcast on CBC.ca as of 12 pm ET, will also feature the women's 1000m, with Kali Christ (Regina, SK) and Jessica Gregg (Edmonton, AB), as well as the men's team pursuit, with Bloemen, Morrison and Belchos.

The World Single Distance Championships will continue until Sunday.
 
More information, including detailed schedule, can be found on Speed Skating Canada’s website: 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 13,000 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 sponsor Intact Insurance, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.

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For information:
Jeff MacKinnon   
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Speed Skating Canada
Email: jmackinnon@speedskating.ca
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Patrick Godbout
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
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