Canada tallies three more medals to bring total to seven at ISU World Cup Long Track stage in Heerenveen

Gold in men's team sprint, silver for Bloemen in 5000m, bronze for Blondin in 3000m

Heerenveen, Netherlands, November 12, 2017 – The Canadian long track speed skating team reached the podium in three more events, Sunday, on the last day of the ISU World Cup stage in Heerenveen, Netherlands, as the men's team sprint won gold, Ted-Jan Bloemen earned silver in the men's 5000m and Ivanie Blondin collected bronze in the women's 3000m.

Bloemen's and Blondin's medals bring them a step closer to the 2018 Olympic Games. If they finish among the top 5 in the Special Olympic Qualification Classification (SOQC), an overall ranking that takes into account the four World Cup stages to be held this fall, they would be prequalified for the men's 5000m and the women's 3000m, respectively (as per some conditions, including that Canada qualifies at least one spot in their event).

Canada therefore collected a total of seven medals during this weekend's three-day World Cup stage in Heerenveen, the season's first. Ivanie Blondin stepped onto the podium on each day, as she also won bronze in the women's team pursuit on Friday and silver in Saturday's mass start race. The other medals were won by Laurent Dubreuil (gold in the 500m) and Vincent De Haître (silver in the 1500m).

The seven medals won this weekend are the most in a same World Cup excluding those held in North America since the seven obtained also in Heerenveen in December 2007.

“I think this is the beginning of a really great year, not only for me but for the entire team, said Blondin. “It's so motivating!”

Canada still number one in team sprint
Laurent Dubreuil (Lévis, QC), Alexandre St-Jean (Quebec City, QC) and Vincent De Haître (Cumberland, ON) led Canada to a dominating victory in the men's team sprint race, a non-Olympic event, with a time of 1:19.55, ahead of Norway (1:20.00) and Russia (1:20.94). Canada is the reigning World Cup champion in that discipline.

“It wasn't a perfect race, but we have a good team and we're happy with our performance,” said St-Jean, who came up with the fastest lap for Canada. “Hopefully, we'll be able to be even faster next week.”

“That's what I like about a race like today,” said Dubreuil. “No one among us feels they had a perfect lap but put us together, and we make a good team because we know each other well, and it's enough to put us on top.”

Bloemen earns silver after hard battle
Ted-Jan Bloemen (Calgary, AB) collected silver in the men's 5000m to pick up where he left off after the 2016-2017 season, when he finished ranked second in overall World Cup standings in that distance.

On Sunday, he registered a time of 6:14.95, second to Sven Kramer's (NED) time of 6:12.88. Norwegian skater Sverre Lunde Pedersen earned bronze (6:15.81). Ben Donnelly (Oshawa, ON) was 11th in 6:22.78 in his first career outing in the 5000m A group, as he came close to his personal best of 6:21.71.

Ted-Jan Bloemen and Sven Kramer were both in the last pairing, which led to a hard-fought battle between the two skaters, where they changed leads and which had the crowd cheering for both athletes.

“It was a really exciting feeling to be battling with Sven Kramer for the gold medal,” said Bloemen.
“I was really happy with my energy level during the race and about the fact that I was really able to bring the fight to him. I’m really satisfied with this race, but for the rest of the season I want more and I want to be able to win the race.”

“I’m really pumped that we all did so well in this first World Cup of the season, he added. Thanks for the whole team for the great atmosphere.”

Bronze for Blondin in the 3000m
Ivanie Blondin (Ottawa, ON) clinched bronze in the women's 3000m race with a time of 4:04.16, 0.63 seconds away from the winner, Dutch skater Antoinette de Jong (4:03.53). Russia's Natalia Voronina (4:04.00) came up with silver. Isabelle Weidemann (Ottawa, ON) finished ninth in 4:06.26.

“I wasn't sure I had it in me today after skating in a total of four races Friday and Saturday. But I had a perfect pairing, I was skating with someone who is kind of my mass start nemesis, Irene Schouten,” said Blondin about the Dutch skater, who came in fifth with a time of 4:05.41. “We both brought out each other's compete level today, and it pushed me to have a great race and really focus on what I needed to do to execute a perfect race.”

De Haître sixth in the 1000m
Vincent De Haître skated to a time of 1:08.72 and took sixth place in the men's 1000m race, which was won by Russia's Pavel Kulizhnikov in 1:07.97. Alexandre St-Jean (Quebec City, QC) was ninth in 1:09.15 while Denny Morrison (Fort St. John, BC) came in 19th in 1:10.72.

The Canadian team will now travel to Norway for next weekend's second stage of the 2017-2018 World Cup season, in Stavanger.

More details are available at Speed Skating Canada's website at www.speedskating.ca.
 
TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

Team Sprint – M
GOLD: Canada (1:19.55)
(Laurent Dubreuil, Alexandre St-Jean, Vincent De Haître)

5000m – M
SILVER: Ted-Jan Bloemen (6:14.95)
11. Ben Donnelly (6:22.78)

3000m – W
BRONZE: Ivanie Blondin (4:04.16)
9. Isabelle Weidemann (4:06.26)

1000m – M
5. Vincent De Haître (1:08.72)
9. Alexandre St-Jean (1:09.15)
19. Denny Morrison (1:10.72)

1000m (B) - W
5. Kaylin Irvine (1:16.50)
11. Heather McLean (1:17.37)
14. Brianne Tutt (1:18.09)
24. Marsha Hudey (DQ)

3000m (B) – W
7. Brianne Tutt (4:09.47)
14. Josie Morrison (4:10.99)

1000m (B) – M
16. David La Rue (1:10.60)

5000m (B) – M
16. Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu (6:25.67)

About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, SSC is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial associations. Speed Skating Canada is committed to Challenge and Inspire Canada to Thrive through the power of Speed Skating. 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. www.speedskating.ca

Speed Skating Canada would like to thank its sponsors:

Premium partner: Intact Insurance
Funding partners: Government of Canada (Sport Canada), Own The Podium, Canadian Olympic Committee
Official On-Ice High Performance Apparel: Li-Ning
Long Track Team Sponsor: KIA
Official Suppliers: Auclair, USANA
Official Technical Equipment Supplier: Nagano Skate
Sport Development Partners: Winsport Canada, Calgary’s Olympic Oval, University of Calgary, Institut national du sport du Québec, Government of Quebec, Canadian Sport Institute-Calgary, City of Montreal, Quebec City, Excellence sportive Québec-Lévis

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For information:
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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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 
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