Blondin, Bloemen win distance races at ISU Fall World Cup Long Track Selections

Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa and Ted-Jan Bloemen, who arrived in Calgary from his native Netherlands in June with plans to skate for his father’s homeland, won Friday’s distance races at Speed Skating Canada's ISU Fall World Cup Long Track Selections at the Calgary Olympic Oval.

Blondin skated a strong four minutes, 07.70 seconds to win the women’s 3,000m while Bloemen blazed to a personal best of 6:15.75 in the men’s 5,000m.

Ottawa skaters swept the top three women’s spots.  Lauren McGuire was second in 4:13.66 and Isabelle Weidemann took third in 4:13.85, a personal best.

Jordan Belchos of Markham, Ont., was second in the men’s 5k in 6:32.56. Stefan Waples of Winnipeg placed third in 6:35.86.

Blondin continues to impress this fall season. She has set personal bests in three distances already, including a 4:04.99 in the 3,000m during a time trial at the Olympic Oval on Sept. 26. That time is also the fastest in the world for a 3k this season.

“It’s better than I skated all of last season, so I’m pretty happy with it,” Blondin said. “I still need to work on my nerves leading up to races, though. This being the first race of the season that actually counted for something, I think I let the nerves get to me a bit too much today.”

“But, at the same time, I can’t really complain about the time. It still is a really good time.”

Blondin will skate again Saturday in the 5,000m race as will Bloemen in the men’s 10,000m event. Also on the schedule will be the men’s and women’s 500m races. Skating starts at 1 p.m. local time and admission is free.

Bloemen has had quite a week. He received written proof of his Canadian citizenship — his father, Gerhard-Jan, was born in New Brunswick — and he had to go to downtown Calgary on Thursday to get his passport. Once Bloemen receives approval from the International Skating Union, he will be eligible to skate for Canada on the World Cup circuit. He hopes that will happen in time for the opening event in Obihiro, Japan, Nov. 14-16.

Bloemen admitted he was surprised by his time Friday, which gave him the victory by a margin of 16.81 seconds. His time is the fastest recorded in a 5,000m event in the world this season.

“With five laps to go, I felt like I wasn’t going to hold on — that I was going to crack — but I ended up going even faster,” he said. “So, I said ‘OK, I’ll just keep going and try to get a PB’. I was surprised. Apparently I’m still underestimating myself.”

On the women's side, McGuire almost established a new personal best in the 3,000m, coming within 0.66 seconds of doing so. She is coming off a tough 2013-2014 season, in which she was dealing with her father’s terminal illness. Joe McGuire died last winter of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

“I was really focusing on my race, trying to stay calm and strong. This race means so much to me, because last year I struggled so much with the loss of my dad,” she said.

“Working with (coach) Crispin (Parkinson) again after a three-year hiatus has allowed me to be positive. He has been so suppportive. This is the beginning of a great season for me.”

Canada has a fall World Cup quota of three skaters for the women’s 3,000m and 5,000m events, and of two for the men’s 5,000m and 10,000m races.

The selections wrap up Sunday, with races starting at 2 p.m. Both 1,000m events and the two spectator-friendly mass starts are scheduled.

Full results: 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.

- 30 -

For information:
Jeff MacKinnon   
Coordinator, Media and Communications Services – long track
Speed Skating Canada
Email: jmackinnon@speedskating.ca
Phone: 403-860-9525
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC

Patrick Godbout
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca
Phone: 514 213-9897
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC