Canada concludes first World Cup Long Track of the season with a total of seven medals

The Canadian Long Track Speed Skating team added three medals to its tally for the weekend, Sunday, to conclude the first World Cup of the season held at Calgary's Olympic Oval with a total of seven podium finishes. That is the best performance by Canada at a World Cup since 2009.

On the last day of competition, Sunday, William Dutton of Humboldt, SK, and Alex Boisvert-Lacroix of Sherbrooke, QC, respectively earned silver and bronze in the second 500m event of the weekend, while Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa collected bronze in the women's mass start race.

Friday, Dutton won the bronze medal in the first 500m race of the weekend, while Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary collected bronze in the men's 5000m. The next day, Bloemen, Jordan Belchos of Toronto and Ben Donnelly of Oshawa won gold in the men's team pursuit, a first since the 2010 Olympic Games. Also Saturday, Marsha Hudey of White City, SK, Heather McLean of Winnipeg, MB, and Noémie Fiset of Québec City (Sainte-Foy-Sillery-Cap-Rouge burrough) all picked up their first career medal at a World Cup by coming up with bronze at the women's team sprint event.

That total of seven medals over one single World Cup stage is the best performance by the Canadian team since the fourth stage of the 2009-2010 World Cup season, held December 4-6, also at Calgary's Olympic Oval. On that occasion, the Canadian skaters stepped on the podium a total of eight times.

Two medals after coming out of retirement for Dutton
William Dutton therefore won his second medal of the weekend in a 500m, while also improving on his personal best of 34.46 seconds, as he clocked a time of 34.25 on Sunday. Russia's Pavel Kulizhnikov won gold (34.00) while setting a new world record. The previous world record of 34.03 had been held by Canadian skater Jeremy Wotherspoon since November 2007.

“Going through the race I felt really smooth, and when I crossed the line, I thought it could be a world record because it felt unreal,” said Dutton. “I could not be more happy. I never thought I’d be on back to back podiums, especially at this first World Cup after coming back from retirement, but here I am. It’s a new level for me and I’m just going to try and keep it going.”

First career medal in long track for Boisvert-Lacroix
Alex Boisvert-Lacroix, for his part, improved on his personal best in the 500m distance for the second time this weekend, after skating to a time of 34.30. That allowed him to finish ahead of his teammate Gilmore Junio of Calgary by only four thousandths of a second on the way to bronze.

That was the first time in 12 career World Cups in long track that Alex Boisvert-Lacroix ended up on the podium. He collected a bronze medal in the 500m at a short track World Cup held in China in October of 2007. He moved over to long track in the fall of 2010.

“It was my best opener ever,” said Boisvert-Lacroix. “I knew I had to go really hard and I felt really strong. When I saw my time on the board, I was so happy with it. It was my sixth personal best in a row. I’m on a roll and I’m really on fire, and I’m really looking forward to the next World Cups. Right now, I’m the third fastest guy in the world in the 500m distance, it’s just amazing.”

Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, QC, finished sixth while also setting a new personal best, bringing his mark from 34.50 to 34.33. The other Canadian in the race, Alexandre St-Jean of Québec City, was 19th.

A bronze for Blondin in the mass start
Ivanie Blondin, who holds the 2014-2015 season World Cup title in the mass start event, kicked off her title defence on Sunday.

Overtaken at the finish line by South Korea's Bo-Reum Kim and Dutch skater Irene Schouten, who was second overall last season, Blondin earned the bronze medal at this season's first mass start, a discipline which has now been admitted into the Olympic program for the 2018 Games. Josie Spence of Kamloops, B.C., was 17th.

“It was a fast race from start to finish,” said Blondin. “You could definitely tell I had a target on my back the whole race. I kept being pushed by the girls up front. In the last lap, it was either I go, or I don’t go and I’m not on the podium. I decided to go for it and unfortunately, I got snagged at the line. At least I’m on the podium and I’m happy with that.”

In the men's mass start, Jordan Belchos and Rob Watson of Whitby, ON, respectively finished 12th and 13th.

A world record in the women's 1500m
In the women's 1500m, American skater Brittany Bowe clocked a time of 1:51.59 to win gold and beat the world record of 1:51.79, which had been set by Canadian skater Cindy Klassen on November 20, 2005. Bowe's teammate Heather Richardson, who had improved the 1000m world record on Saturday, earned silver (1:52.27), while Czech skater Martina Sábliková followed in third place (1:54.18).

Canada's Kali Christ of Regina, SK, was 19th with a time of 1:57.24.

In the men's 1500m, Vincent De Haître of Cumberland, ON, was 16th in 1:45.70. Russia's Denis Yuskov (1:41.88), Belgium's Bart Swings (1:42.48) and American skater Joey Mantia (1:42.48 (2)) all ended up on the podium.

Personal bests for Canadian skaters
In the division B 1500m races held in the morning, Ted-Jan Bloemen won the men's event while setting a new personal best of 1:44.91. Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, QC, who was taking part in his first-ever World Cup in long track, was 17th, also with a personal best (1:46.89).

Respectively 8th and 11th in the women's B division 1500m, Josie Spence (1:58.37) and Isabelle Weidemann of Ottawa (1:58.67) also set new personal bests in that distance.

More details are available at Speed Skating Canada's website at www.speedskating.ca.

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

500m (2) M - A
SILVER. William Dutton: 34.25
BRONZE. Alex Boisvert-Lacroix: 34.30 (0)
4. Gilmore Junio: 34.30 (4)
6. Laurent Dubreuil: 34.33
19. Alexandre St-Jean: fall

Mass Start W - A
BRONZE. Ivanie Blondin:
17. Josie Spence:

1500m M - A
16. Vincent De Haître: 1:45.70

1500m W - A
19. Kali Christ: 1:57.24

1500m M - B
1. Ted-Jan Bloemen: 1:44.91
17. Olivier Jean: 1:46.89
21. Martin Corbett: 1:47.99
24. Ben Donnelly: 1:48.23

1500m W - B
8. Josie Spence: 1:58.37
11. Isabelle Weidemann: 1:58.67
12. Brianne Tutt: 1:58.83
23. Kaylin Irvine: 2:01.92

500m (2) W - A
10. Heather McLean: 37.67
17. Marsha Hudey: 38.20

Mass Start M - A
12. Jordan Belchos
13. Rob Watson

500m (2) W - B
4. Shannon Rempel: 38.33
10. Jessica Gregg: 38.63
14. Kaylin Irvine: 38.82

Mass Start W - B
10. Isabelle Weidemann

Départ en groupe M - B
11. Stefan Waples

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
Phone: 514 213-9897
Website: www.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  
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC 
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC