Canada wins two medals, including a first gold medal in men's team pursuit since Vancouver 2010, at the Calgary Long Track World Cup

The trio of Canadian skaters comprised of Ted-Jan Bloemen, Jordan Belchos and Ben Donnelly won the gold medal in the men's team pursuit while Marsha Hudey, Heather McLean and Noémie Fiset earned bronze in the women's team sprint, Saturday, at the ISU Long Track World Cup Speed Skating which is taking place until Sunday at Calgary's Olympic Oval.

Bloemen of Calgary, Belchos of Toronto and Donnelly, of Oshawa, ON, completed the eight laps slated for the men's team pursuit in 3:39.32, a time which was only one second away from the Canadian record which stands at 3:38.31. South Korea finished second (3:39.60) while Italy followed in third place.

This is Canada's first gold medal in this discipline since Denny Morrison, Lucas Makowsky and Mathieu Giroux finished first at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. At last year's World Single Distance Championships, Bloemen, Belchos and Morrison collected silver. Saturday's performance is also the best at a World Cup since Canada's silver medal earned at the Hamar World Cup stage, in Norway, in November of 2010.

“I think the key was our preparation,” said Belchos. “We've skated a lot together, we know each other well, we trust each other and when it comes down to these moments when the pressure is on, it's really a great feeling when you trust the guys you are with as well as the preparation you went through.”

First career World Cup medals
As a member of the Canadian men's team pursuit that skated to gold on Saturday, Ben Donnelly collected his first career medal. He is taking part this weekend in his first-ever World Cup.

“It's really exciting and I’m really happy,” said the 19-year-old skater who is still eligible for junior competitions. “I started to struggle in the last lap, but Ted kept pushing me and the teamwork really paid off. We just kept fighting and it worked really well.”

In the women's team sprint event, Marsha Hudey of White City, SK, Heather McLean of Winnipeg, MB, and Noémie Fiset of Québec City (Sainte-Foy-Sillery-Cap-Rouge borough) all tallied their first career medal at a World Cup after being awarded the bronze medal following Russia's disqualification.

Hudey, McLean and Fiset skated to a time of 1:28.39, thus improving the Canadian record in this discipline, which stood at 1:30.05 and had been recorded in March of 2013 at Erfurt, Germany.

Japan won the race in 1:26.82, followed by China (1:27.08).

“Considering it was our first team sprint, we stuck well together as a team,” said Marsha Hudey. “We didn’t think we were going to hit the podium, but it’s a nice surprise and we’re really excited about that.”

“I think communication was key,” said Heather McLean. “We communicated right off the bat in the first corner, which is a crucial part of the race. It just really felt natural skating together.”

The team sprint result allowed Noémie Fiset to collect her first career medal as she was skating at her first-ever World Cup.

“It was a good race and I’m excited I got the chance to take part,” she said. “And to be on the podium is even better!”

In the women's team pursuit, Ivanie Blondin and Isabelle Weidemann, both from Ottawa, as well as Josie Spence of Kamloops, BC, finished in fourth position, with a time of 2:59.17.

The Netherlands (2:56.11), Japan (2:56.46) and Russia (2:56.98) respectively finished first, second and third.

“To be honest, it went better than I expected. It’s a new team and I’m surprised by our result,” said Blondin. “Finishing fourth at our first World Cup as a new team is a really great accomplishment, and I’m looking forward to what we can accomplish at the next World Cups.”

In the men's team sprint, Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, QC, William Dutton of Humboldt, SK, and Vincent De Haître of Cumberland, ON, were disqualified following a fall by Dubreuil.

A world record and personal bests in the 1000m
In the men's A division 1000m, Vincent De Haître was the top Canadian with a 8th-place finish (1:08.11).

“It was my best start so far this season, but my execution wasn't good during the rest of the race, notably in the corners, where I didn't skate at the level I'm accustomed to,” said De Haître. “But I'm still happy with the results, because among other things, I was affected by a cold all week.”

Alexandre St-Jean of Québec City was 14th (1:08.69), followed by Alex Boisvert-Lacroix of Sherbrooke, QC, who was 15th in 1:08.74. Boisvert-Lacroix set a new personal best in that distance, improving on his old mark of 1:08.96. This is the 28-year-old skater's second personal best at this World Cup; he also improved on his time in Friday's 500m.

Gerben Jorritsma (1:07.20) and Kjeld Nuis (1:07.40) of the Netherlands were first and third. Russia's Pavel Kulizhnikov (1:07.33) was second.

In the women's A 1000m, Heather McLean was 19th (1:17.07). American skaters Heather Richardson (1:12.51) and Brittany Bowe (1:12.54) both beat the world record in that distance, which was 1:12.68, as they respectively went on to win gold and silver. China's Hong Zhang (1:12.65) collected bronze.

“I’m not very happy with my performance,” said Heather McLean. “Today, I don’t think I stepped up to the level that I have been training at. I think I will get better with experience, though. I have a lot of 1000m races to do this season, and I feel it is an opportunity and a challenge to race with these women.”

In the women's division B 1000m, Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa also set a new personal best with a time of 1:14.72, good for a second-place finish. Her previous best time was 1:16.22.

More details are available at Speed Skating Canada's website at www.speedskating.ca as well as on the competition's website at www.speedsk8.ca, where tickets are also available for sale.

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

Team Pursuit M
GOLD. Canada: 3:39.32
(Ted-Jan Bloemen, Jordan Belchos, Ben Donnelly)

Team Sprint W
BRONZE. Canada: 1:28.39
(Marsha Hudey, Noémie Fiset, Heather McLean)

Team Pursuit W
4. Canada: 2:59.17
(Ivanie Blondin, Josie Spence, Isabelle Weidemann)

1000m M - A
8. Vincent De Haître: 1:08.11
14. Alexandre St-Jean: 1:08.69
15. Alex Boisvert-Lacroix: 1:08.74

1000m W - A
19. Heather McLean: 1:17.07

1000m W - B
2. Ivanie Blondin: 1:14.72
13. Kaylin Irvine: 1:16.24
17. Kali Christ: 1:16.76
18. Marsha Hudey: 1:17.01

1000m M - B
5. Richard Maclennan: 1:08.89
7. William Dutton: 1:09.04

Team Sprint M
DQ. Canada
(Laurent Dubreuil, William Dutton, Vincent De Haître)

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:
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Kerry Dankers
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