Ivanie Blondin & Jordan Belchos win the first races held at the Canadian Single Distance Championships

Calgary, January 3, 2017 – Ivanie Blondin and Jordan Belchos were crowned 2017 Canadian national champions respectively in the women's 3000m and the men's 5000m, Tuesday, on the first day of the Canadian Single Distance Championships to be held until Friday at Calgary's Olympic Oval.

In the women's 3000m, Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa, ON, reclaimed her national title by coming up with the win thanks to a time of 4:05.01.
 
Blondin was already pre-qualified in this distance for the 2017 ISU World Single Distance Championships, which will take place February 9-12 on the official ice of the 2018 Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, following the results she earned at the first four World Cup stages of the 2016-2017 season, held this fall.

“The air pressure was really high today, which is horrible for speed, so I just wanted to go out there and start feeling things out. The lap times just kept coming and once I came across the finish line, I was pleasantly surprised with my time and I was really happy with it,” said Ivanie Blondin.

“It’s been a while since I’ve gone through real hard intensity like that. I was a little nervous in that sense, but I knew that I had put in the training since I got back from World Cups, and so I knew I was fit and ready. It was just a matter of keeping my technique in check and having the right race plan.”

“I had a hard time today finding motivation because I've pre-qualified for the World Championships, and I did not necessarily have any pressure on my shoulders,” added Blondin. “Usually, the more pressure I have, the better I skate. This time, I had a harder time finding the fire within me. It’s good to have these different scenarios in races where I can really get to know myself better.”
 
Brianne Tutt of Airdrie, AB, and Isabelle Weidemann of Ottawa, ON, who won this event last year, shared second place in Tuesday's race after both skating to a time of 4:11.387.
 
Both eligible for the second and last Canadian spot in this distance at the World Single Distance Championships, Tutt, who has already pre-qualified in the 1500m, and Weidemann will have to wait for a decision from Speed Skating Canada's Long Track High Performance Committee, which will meet on Friday.
 
Jordan Belchos remains champion
In the men's 5000m, Jordan Belchos of Toronto, ON, held on to his national title by skating to a time of 6:24.56. He finished ahead of Ted-Jan Bloemen (6:28.23) of Calgary, AB, and Graeme Fish (6:32.63) from Moose Jaw, SK.
 
With this win, Belchos, who has already pre-qualified in the mass start event at the World Single Distance Championships, earned Canada's second spot in the 5000m distance at the international competition.

“I went on what felt like a good pace and I knew what time I needed to win,” said Jordan Belchos. “I knew, when I went to the starting line, that I needed to execute my race well and that's what I did.”
 
“Last year, I skated four races at World Single Distance Championships and I was proud of that, so this year I set out to do the same thing. My goal for this week's competition is to qualify in the 5000m and the 10,000m, and also to get to skate the team pursuit and the mass start in South Korea,” added Jordan Belchos who, following the World Cup stage held in the Netherlands in December, stayed over to take part in speed skating marathons.

“What I learned from doing marathons is survival tactics. You’re so tired that you have to find ways to keep the momentum of your body going. I picked up a few technical cues to help me carry my speed. I also learned how deep I can dig while still keeping my technique together, which is super important for the end of long distance races.”
 
Bloemen had already pre-qualified in this distance for the World Championships, as he has in the 10,000m.

“Obviously it didn’t go well today,” said Ted-Jan Bloemen. “I’m still trying to figure out what is the cause of this performance, because it was really bad and it should never have happened. I have a riddle to solve. Things have been going well in practice, so I did not expect this. I have to process it.”

The final and official list of Canadian skaters and the events in which they will take part at the 2017 ISU World Single Distance Championships will be announced at a later date following approval by Speed Skating Canada's Long Track High Performance Committee, which will evaluate any appeal or exemption request, if applicable.
 
Mcguire and Larue skate to wins at Canada Cup #2
In Canada Cup #2 races, held at the same time as the Canadian Single Distance Championships, Lauren Mcguire (4:28.24) of Ottawa, ON, won the women's 3000m, followed by Véronique Déry (4:33.32) of Lévis, QC, and Danielle Wallish (4:34.68) of Calgary, AB.
 
On the men's side, David Larue (6:43.98) of Saint-Lambert, QC, won the race, ahead of Cooper Emin (6:47.35) from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and Inigo Vidondo (6:51.02) from Spain. Nicolas Hiller (6 :52.11) of Prince George, B.C., was fourth.

Canada Cup competitions are a series of events where athletes can earn points for each distance towards season-ending rankings, as well as a competition for senior and junior A, B, C2 athletes, this last category being dedicated to skaters born between July 1st, 2001, and June 30, 2002.

On Wednesday, the first of two 500m events slated during the week as well as the women's 5000, and the men's 10,000m will be held as part of the Canadian Single Distance Championships schedule.

In each of these races, the best skater, except those who have already qualified, will earn the last spots attributed to Canada for the World Single Distance Championships. In the 500m, Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, QC, and Alex Boisvert-Lacroix from Sherbrooke, QC, on the men's side, as well as Marsha Hudey of White City, SK, and Heather McLean of Winnipeg, MB, have pre-qualified, as have Ivanie Blondin in the women's 5000m and Ted-Jan Bloemen in the 10,000m.

The races are webcast on the Calgary Olympic Oval YouTube channel, available at www.youtube.com/TheOlympicOval.
 
More information, including the detailed schedule and links to results and webcast information, are available at Speed Skating Canada's website 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 and Samsung, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.

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For information:
Kerry Dankers
Long Track Program and Communications Coordinator
Speed Skating Canada
Email: kdankers@speedskating.ca
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Patrick Godbout
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
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Phone: 514 213-9897
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