Ivanie Blondin & Ted-Jan Bloemen kick off the new season with wins at Fall World Cup Selections

Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa and Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary respectively won the women's 3000m and the men's 5000m races slated on the first day of Speed Skating Canada's Fall World Cup Selections, which will take place until Sunday at Calgary's Olympic Oval.

The 57 athletes who are taking part in this competition, held at the same time as the Oval Invitational events, are vying for a spot on the Canadian national team that will skate at this fall's four World Cup stages, the first of which will take place in Calgary from November 13 to 15.

In the women's 3000m, Blondin finished first with a time of 4:11.49, followed by Isabelle Weidemann, also from Ottawa, who skated to a time of 4:13.70. Josie Spence (4:14.00) from Kamloops, British Columbia, was third.

Last year, Blondin, who was crowned 2014-2015 overall World Cup champion in the mass start, also won the women's 3000m race at the Fall World Cup Selections as well as at the Canadian Single Distance Championships.

“I didn't feel too nervous going into the race, and I even may have felt a little too relaxed, so it wasn't the prettiest of races or the fastest time. But I did what I set out to do, which was to finish in first place,” pointed out Blondin, who is already certain of earning a spot on the Canadian World Cup team due to her second-place result in the women's mass start event at least season's ISU World Single Distance Championships. “Overall, my focus remains on preparing for this season's first World Cup.”

“I had a good race today, even if the time wasn't that good. But I was nervous and I will need to learn to manage that part of racing in my next events,” said Weidemann, who is starting out her first season at the senior level. Last year, she took fourth place in the women's 3000m at the World Junior Championships.

“I think I've never been better prepared for a race in this distance than I was today,” stated Spence, who placed fifth in overall national standings last season in the 3000m distance. “The experience I picked up last year proved to be useful for my preparation. I went over my race plan a lot and I was able to execute what I set out to do.”

On the men's side, Ted-Jan Bloemen picked up where he left off last year in the men's 5000m by coming up with the win. He also finished first in 2014-2015 in that distance at the Fall World Cup Selections as well as at the Canadian Single Distance Championships.

Bloemen's time of 6:19.96 allowed him to finish ahead of Toronto's Jordan Belchos by over eigth seconds, as the latter completed the race with a time of 6:28.25. Ben Donnelly of Oshawa, Ontario, was third with a time of 6:35.80.

“When the first skaters went out, I saw that the times was a bit slow today, so I didn't expect much in terms of times,” said Bloemen. “I still was pretty fast in the first half of the race, and I felt good at that point, and I was focusing on the need to quicken the pace in the second half of the race; but as it turns out, I went too hard. I suffered over the last three laps. Still, overall, I'm happy with how it went.”

Donnelly's time, Thursday, was only 23 hundredths of a second away for the personal best he registered on October 3, earlier this month. Donnelly also set a new Canadian junior record in the 3000m at the end of September.

“I started the race a little bit quick for what the conditions were and I tried to hold on until the end, but I sort of died out in the last four laps. I need to try to skate more of a flat race,” said Donnelly, a 20-year-old athlete. “It would be fun if I could skate at the World Cups, it would be a great learning experience for this season's World Junior Championships.”

Skaters are attempting to earn a spot on the team that will represent Canada at the first four ISU Long Track Speed Skating World Cup stages slated for this fall, i.e. in Calgary (November 13-15), Salt Lake City, USA (November 20-22), Inzell, Germany (December 4-6) and Heerenveen, Netherlands (December 11-13).

The races at the Fall World Cup Selections will continue on Friday as the first 500m races will take place starting at 1:25 pm local time, followed by the women's 5000m and the men's 10 000m. Saturday, the second 500m race and the first 1000m contest will start at 1 pm. And finally, Sunday, the 1500m races and the mass start events will be held starting at 11 am. Admission is free.
 
More details and the complete schedule are available on 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:
Patrick Godbout
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca
Phone: 514 213-9897
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
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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
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC