Canada wins bronze in women's team pursuit at Calgary World Cup

Vincent De Haître finishes fourth in men's 1000m

Calgary, December 2, 2017 – Ivanie Blondin, Kali Christ and Isabelle Weidemann allowed Canada to win its second bronze medal in as many races in the women's team pursuit event so far this season, while Vincent De Haître ended up at the foot of podium in fourth place in the men's 1000m, Saturday, at the ISU World Cup Long Track Speed Skating stage held until Sunday at Calgary's Olympic Oval.

In the women's team pursuit, Blondin and Weidemann, both from Ottawa, and Christ from Regina, SK, skated to a time of 2:56.80, good for the bronze medal.

During the first World Cup stage of the season held in Heerenveen, the Netherlands, Blondin, Weidemann and Josie Morrison from Kamloops, B.C. had also finished in third place.

Japan won gold in 2:53.88, setting in the process a new world record time by beating its own mark. Germany came in second with a time of 2:56.76.
 
“I guess in a way we were lucky with the Dutch falling, which gave us the bronze medal because they were a little ahead of us in the last split,” pointed out Blondin, referring to the fact that the Dutch skaters fell towards the end of their race.

“But even with a fourth position today, I would have been extremely happy because we executed the race we wanted to do,” added Blondin. “That was the fastest race I’ve ever skated in a team pursuit event, so I think that says a lot. We brought in Marcel Lacroix as the women’s team pursuit coach and I think he brings a lot to our team, he really taught us how to skate well together and how to trust each other as teammates.”

“That was my first team pursuit race since 2015 and my first time racing with Isabelle Weidemann,” pointed out Kali Christ, who is back skating after going through a long recovery period due to an injury. “It’s really exciting and I think there’s a lot more to come. We’ve got a lot more in us and we can do so much better.”
 
In the men's team pursuit, Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary, Ben Donnelly from Oshawa, ON, and Denny Morrison from Fort St. John, B.C., saw their race cut short by a fall.
 
“You are balancing on a 1mm thick blade, going 60km/h around a turn, so you have to be in a perfect position and things weren’t perfect today,” said Denny Morrison. “We really felt like we could have broken the world record and won today. I often talk about how pressure creates diamonds and pressure is a privilege, but today no diamond was created with the team pursuit.”
 
“There will be extra pressure in the next one, but when we do have a good one and qualify our team for the Olympics, that’s going to be something to celebrate,” added Morrison.
 
De Haître one spot away from the podium
In the men's 1000m, Vincent De Haître of Cumberland, ON, moved up from fifth to fourth place when Russia's Pavel Kulizhnikov was disqualified for kicking a block.
 
Dutch skaters Kai Verbij (1:06.93) and Kjeld Nuis (1:06.96) won gold and silver, respectively, while Norway's Håvard Holmefjord Lorentzen (1:06.98) collected bronze. De Haître skated to a time of 1:07.30.
 
“To finish that close to the podium it’s… I won’t say upsetting, but you know,” said De Haître. “You have goals and you want to reach them. Today, my goal was to perform well and I thought that by doing that, it would result in a podium result. It wasn’t the case for me today, but it definitely gives me a lot of confidence for tomorrow.”
 
The other Canadian skating in this distance, Alexandre St-Jean of Quebec City, QC, took 12th place while improving on his personal best by five hundredth of a second, to a time of 1:07.84.
 
“The fact that I finished 12th doesn't worry me too much,” said St-Jean. “I had a fast start but it was a little rough early on. There was also a lap that I can improve on. So there is some positive in today's performance, considering I came up with a personal best, and I think I can do even better next week in Salt Lake City.”
 
On the women's side, Kaylin Irvine (1:15.71), from Calgary, was 18th.
 
Three Canadians go on to mass start finals
In the mass start event, Ivanie Blondin and Keri Morrison of Burlington, ON, as well as Olivier Jean from Lachenaie, QC, all qualified for Sunday's finals by each finishing among the top eight in Saturday's semifinal races.
 
Christopher Fiola of Montreal, QC, was 20th in his semifinal heat and was eliminated.
 
More personal bests
In Saturday's other B group races, Brianne Tutt from Airdrie, AB, lowered her personal best to a time of 1:15.53 in the 1000m, improving on her previous mark of 1:16.29. She had also set a new personal best on Friday in the women's 3000m.

On the men's side, David La Rue of Saint-Lambert, QC, improved his personal best in the 1000m by five hundredths of a second as he skated to a time of 1:08.74.

The competition will end on Sunday with races in the 500m and 1500m distances in addition to the mass start finals.
 
Tickets are available through the www.oval.ucalgary.ca/worldcup website at a price of $15 for adults (age 18 and over), $5 for kids and teenagers (ages 6-17) and $30 for a family of four. A three-day pass is also available at a price of $15 (ages 6-17) or $30 (adults 18 and older), all prices not including GST and fees online and at the door.
 
The ISU World Cup is webcasted live from Friday to Sunday on the CBC Sports (http://www.cbc.ca/sports) and Radio-Canada Sports (http://ici.radio-canada.ca/) websites.
 
Calgary’s Olympic Oval, host organizing committee of the 2017 ISU World Cup Speed Skating in Calgary, would like to thank its following sponsors and partners:
 
Official sponsors of the ISU World Cups Speed Skating: KPN, Liqui Moly, DKB, De Telegraaf
Government and sport partners: Government of Canada, Government of Alberta, Alberta Sport Connection, City of Calgary, Calgary Sport Tourism Authority, University of Calgary’s Kinesiology Faculty
Sponsors of the event: Best Western Plus Village Park Inn, Hotel Alma, Li-Ning, Intact Insurance, National Motor Coach, Big Chief Meat Snacks, Fuel For Gold, KIA, Ricoh, Vendini, Wild Rose Brewery, Aloft Calgary University, Centro Motel, Four Points by Sheraton

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

Team Pursuit – W
BRONZE: Canada (2:56.80)
(Ivanie Blondin, Kali Christ, Isabelle Weidemann)

1000m – M
4. Vincent De Haître (1:07.30)
12. Alexandre St-Jean (1:07.84)

Team Pursuit – M
10: Canada (DQ)
(Denny Morrison, Ted-Jan Bloemen, Ben Donnelly)

Mass Start – W
Ivanie Blondin: 2nd in the semifinals and will take part in the final Sunday
Keri Morrison: 6th in semifinals and will take part in the final Sunday

Mass Start – M
Olivier Jean: 5th in the semifinals and will take part in the final Sunday
Christopher Fiola: 20th in semifinals and eliminated

1000m – W
18. Kaylin Irvine (1:15.71)

1000m (B) – W
7. Brianne Tutt (1:15.53)
15. Keri Morrison (1:16.56)
20. Noémie Fiset (1:18.24)

1000m (B) – M
5. Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (1:08.32)
15. David La Rue (1:08.740)

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 
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