Denny Morrison & Ivanie Blondin crowned season champions in men's 1500m & women's mass start at World Cup Final in Germany

Laurent Dubreuil confirmed as silver medalist in season 500m standings

Denny Morrison won gold in the men's 1500m and Laurent Dubreuil came up with silver in the men's 500m, Sunday, on the last day of the ISU Long Track Speed Skating World Cup Final held in Erfurt, Germany. Morrison and Ivanie Blondin were also crowned season champions in their respective World Cup disciplines, the men's 1500m and the women's mass start, while Dubreuil's second-place in season 500m standings was confirmed.

The Canadian long track speed skating team therefore finished the World Cup season with 15 medals (four gold, four silver and seven bronze), four more than the previous season (one gold, five silver and five bronze for a total of 11). Blondin won six of Canada's medals in 2014-15, Dubreuil five and Morrison three, while Vincent de Haître won the other.

One day after winning gold in the men's 1000m, Denny Morrison, 29, of Fort St. John, BC, once again made it to the top step on the podium by winning Sunday's 1500m with a time of one minute, 46 seconds and 15 hundredth of a second.

His victory allowed him to go from fifth place in overall 1500m standings to first position, as he picked up 150 points for a total of 409 points over the season. He finished ahead of Norway's Sverre Lunde Pederson, who finished second in Sunday's race, by only five points. Kjeld Nuis of the Netherlands, who stood first in overall standings before the last race of the season, finished sixth Sunday to end up third overall for the season.

“All I did was to skate a solid race, without trying to do anything special. I didn't go too easy, or try too hard. I was in a good pairing and did some fast laps the entire way through, and I had a good finish,” explained Morrison.

“It was such a surprise to win the season title,” added Morrison. “It was a goal of mine in 2007 and 2013, but being injured in 2013 put an end to any chance of that happening. Racing to a win at a clutch moment paid off big time and I couldn't be happier to have achieved one of my career goals today, one that I thought might never happen.”

This season in 1500m races, Morrison, who won the bronze medal in that distance at the 2014 Olympic Games, won a bronze at the Hamar World Cup in Norway, in addition to collecting a gold medals over this present weekend, as well as silver at the World Single Distance Championships.

Ivanie Blondin: first in women's mass start
First overall in the women's mass start standings before the last race of the season, Ivanie Blondin, of Ottawa, ON, finished eighth in Sunday's event, which was enough to stay in first place.

Ahead of Dutch skater Irene Schouten by 10 points before Sunday's race, Blondin, age 24, picked up 36 points to end up with a total of 466 points for the season. Schouten's 16th-place finish, due to a fall during the race, earned her 12 points for a total of 432. The Czech Republic's Martina Sábliková, who won Sunday's race, finished third overall with 405 points.

“I would have preferred to have a real competition with Irene Schouten, but it didn't happen because of her fall, which happened right in front of me,” said Blondin. “After that, I told myself that I just needed to stay on my skates and not take any chances. I was going for the season title and I did it – I even was part of the last sprint at the end. I'm quite happy about the result.

“This title is a big deal for me. I would have liked to have won the world title at the World Single Distance Championships, but I finished second. Today is like a consolation prize.”

In her other race of the day, Blondin was seventh in the women's 3000m with a time of 4:10.46. Sixth in season standings in that distance before Sunday's race, she ended up eighth in final standings.

This season, Blondin won silver in the women's mass start at the World Single Distance Championships, in addition to five other medals in the World Cup mass start events (two gold, two silver and one bronze), as well as a bronze in a 5000m race.

“This is the first year where I've performed as well, and earned so many podiums,” pointed out Blondin. “This is a great leap ahead in my development. It's also quite motivating to know that I'm at this level now, even if I'm smaller than most of the other skaters on the World Cup circuit. This is very positive.”

Laurent Dubreuil: second in overall 500m standings
Laurent Dubreuil, for his part, put an end to an exceptional season by winning the silver medal in the second men's 500m race of the weekend.

The 22-year-old skater from Lévis, QC skated the race in 35 seconds and 10 hundredths, the same time as Michel Mulder of the Netherlands. Mulder had to win the race to finish among the top-3 in season standings.

In final standings, Russia's Pavel Kulizhnikov had already clinched first place after winning Saturday's race, as was Dubreuil already sure of his second-place finish overall after coming up with fourth place in the weekend's first event. Russia's Ruslan Murashov took third place in season standings after winning Sunday's race in 34.97. He skipped ahead of Mulder in third place overall, by only five points.

Dubreuil is the first Canadian, since Jeremy Wotherspoon in 2007-2008, to finish among the top-3 in World Cup season standings in the 500m discipline.

“I had a pretty solid race today,” noted Dubreuil. “I executed all the technical points like I wanted to, and that put me in second place, which is consistent with my season so far. Next season, I will definitely try to get closer to the level of Pavel Kulizhnikov, and try to win a race or two!”

After missing out on his Olympic qualification last season, Dubreuil came back strong this season by coming up with his first career medals at the senior international level. He won five medals in the men's 500m events, i.e. two silver and three bronze

There were no Canadians in the other races held Sunday, i.e. in the women's 500m and 1000m, as well as the men's mass start.

In overall World Cup standings, including all disciplines, Denny Morrison and Ivanie Blondin each finished sixth, while Laurent Dubreuil was 13th and Vincent de Haître, 25th. Saturday, de Haître, only 20, won his first individual medal at the senior international level when he earned bronze in the men's 1000m. He was up on the podium along with his Canadian teammate Morrison, who won gold.

More information can be found on Speed Skating Canada’s website: www.speedskating.ca.

TODAY'S CANADIAN RESULTS :
1500m M
GOLD: Denny Morrison (1:46.15)
Final season standing: 1 (409 points)
 
500m M
SILVER: Laurent Dubreuil (35.10)
Final season standings: 2 (771 points)
 
Mass Start W
8. Ivanie Blondin
Final season standings: 1 (466 points)
 
3000m W
7. Ivanie Blondin (4:10.46)
Final season standings: 8 (242 points)
 
Final overall standings W
6. Ivanie Blondin
 
Final overall standings M
6. Denny Morrison
13. Laurent Dubreuil
25. 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 13,000 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 sponsor Intact Insurance, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.

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For information:
Jeff MacKinnon   
Coordinator, Media and Communications Services – long track
Speed Skating Canada
Email: jmackinnon@speedskating.ca
Phone: 403-860-9525
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
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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