Canadian Long Track Speed Skating Team wins seven medals at ISU World Cup held in Salt Lake City

As it did last week in Calgary, at the first stage of the 2015-2016 season, the Canadian Long Track Speed Skating Team won a total of seven medals at the ISU World Cup which ended Sunday in Salt Lake City, U.S.A.

Sunday, on the last day of the Salt Lake City stage, Canada came up with four podium finishes. After two World Cups so far this season, the Canadian squad already has a total of 14 medals, only one less than the 15 it won last season overall, over seven stages.

In the team sprint raced on Sunday, the Canadian men's team comprised of William Dutton of Humboldt, SK, Vincent De Haître of Cumberland, ON, and Alexandre St-Jean of Québec City won gold.
 
That was Dutton's second medal for the day and his third of the weekend, as earlier on Sunday he collected silver in the 500m, followed by Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, QC, who came up with his first medal this season by earning bronze.

Finally, in the women's mass start, Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa stepped on the podium for a second World Cup stage in a row. After earning bronze last week in Calgary, the 2014-2015 World Cup overall title holder in the mass start event earned silver on Sunday in that discipline.

Friday, William Dutton won bronze in the first 500m event of the weekend, while Ivanie Blondin also picked up a bronze in the women's 5000m. Saturday, Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary shattered the men's 10 000m world record with a time of 12:36.30, which allowed him to win a gold medal.
 
Laurent Dubreuil back on the podium
Sunday, in the second men's 500m of the weekend, William Dutton picked up the silver medal with a time of 34.34 seconds. He finished behind Russia's Pavel Kulizhnikov, who was in the last pairing of the race with him, and who won again with a time of 34.13.

“It was pretty crazy,” said Dutton about winning four medals in as many 500m race so far this season, after a brief two-month period of retirement over the summer. “I really wanted that medal today, because I wanted to come up with a strong finish to end the North American string of World Cups, and make it four in four.”

“I was really close to Pavel Kulizhnikov but I was short in energy for the last few meters. When I came up ahead of him after the first turn, I think I scared him a little bit. I'm improving with each race.”
 
Laurent Dubreuil, for his part, was able to step on the podium for the first time this World Cup season, with a time of 34.36 seconds good for the bronze medal. He was only three hundredths of a second away from his personal best.

“After a substandard race on Friday where I finished 15th, my worst performance at a World Cup over the last two years, I was extremely disappointed,” said Dubreuil. “I really needed this kind of race today to get my confidence back. I was able to bounce back, to believe in myself and to come up with a performance that was up to my expectations. I'm very proud of the way I followed the process over the last 48 hours to refocus and come up with my first medal this season. It shows to what extent I can be strong mentally. This is a performance, I hope, that will kick off a good string of results for me at the upcoming World Cups.”

“I'm definitely relieved after my race today,” added Dubreuil, who finished second overall in 500m World Cup standings in 2014-2015. “In fact, the situation seems quite similar to what I went through last year, when I came up with my first medal in my fourth race. At the same time, the two situations are different in the sense that last year, I was looking to prove to myself that I could do it; while this time, I knew I could – it's just that I wasn't able to execute well.”

“Today, I was much less tense and I was smoother on the ice. Also, I was finally able to resolve
the problem with my blade that had nagged me since the start of the season.”
 
Alexandre St-Jean finished in eighth place in Sunday's 500m while setting a new personal best of 34.460 – 11 hundredths of a second better than his previous mark. Alex Boisvert-Lacroix of Sherbrooke, QC, was 10th (34.467), while Gilmore Junio de Calgary was 13th (34.53).
 
First World Cup medal for Alexandre St-Jean
Later in the afternoon, the Canadian team sprint squad comprised of William Dutton, Vincent De Haître and Alexandre St-Jean won gold in 1:17.75, a new Canadian record. They finished ahead of Russia (1:19.120) and the Netherlands (1:19.20).
 
It was St-Jean's first career medal at a World Cup.

“I'm quite satisfied with my lap, which was pretty fast,” said St-Jean. “The pressure was very high in the turns, but things went well. William had a fast start and Vincent was excellent in the last turn, which allowed us to increase our lead and to win by more than one second.”

“I'm very happy with this first medal and I hope to win some more in the team event and, eventually, in individual events as well.”

In the women's team sprint, the Canadian squad comprised of Marsha Hudey of White City, SK, Kaylin Irvine of Calgary and Heather McLean of Winnipeg finished in fourth place, while also setting a new Canadian record – 1:26.90. They improved on the previous mark of 1:28.39.
 
Ivanie Blondin is two for two in mass starts
In the women's mass start, Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa earned her second medal of the season in that discipline by coming up with the silver medal. She won bronze last week in Calgary.

Blondin finished behind gold-medal winner Irene Schouten of the Netherldands, who finished second behind the Canadian skater in last season's overall mass start standings, and ahead of bronze-medal winner Misaki Oshigiri from Japan.
 
Josie Spence of Kamloops, B.C., was sixth.

“I'm a little bit disappointed that I didn't win gold, but at the same time I'm pleased to be once again on the podium,” said Blondin. “I found myself on the outside in the last lap while I could have stayed on the inside. But each race is different and this is another step in the right direction.”
 
On the men's side, Jordan Belchos of Toronto was 13th while Rob Watson of Whitby, ON, was 18th.
 
In the mass group B races, Isabelle Weidemann of Ottawa and Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, QC both finished in fifth place. Jean was taking part in his first career mass start as the short track skater is making his debut in long track this fall.

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

Team Sprint M - A
GOLD: Canada: 1:17.75
(William Dutton, Alexandre St-Jean, Vincent De Haître)

500m (2) M - A
SILVER: William Dutton: 34.34
BRONZE: Laurent Dubreuil: 34.36
8: Alexandre St-Jean: 34.460
10: Alex Boisvert-Lacroix: 34.467
13: Gilmore Junio: 34.53

Mass Start W - A
SILVER: Ivanie Blondin
6: Josie Spence

Team Sprint W - A
4: Canada: 1:26.90
(Marsha Hudey, Kaylin Irvine, Heather McLean)

Mass Start M - A
13: Jordan Belchos
18: Robert Watson

1000m W - B
8: Heather McLean: 1:16.13
12: Kaylin Irvine: 1:16.54
20: Marsha Hudey: 1:17.59

Mass Start W - B
5: Isabelle Weidemann

Mass Start M - B
5: Olivier Jean

More details are available at Speed Skating Canada's web site at 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 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
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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 
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