Ivanie Blondin earns silver medal in mass start at Long Track World Cup in Japan

Nagano, Japan, November 20, 2016 – Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa, ON, won her third medal in two World Cup stages for far this season as she earned silver in the women's mass start held on Sunday at the ISU World Cup Long Track Speed Skating event in Nagano, Japan.

After having to battle with a virus this week, which forced her to withdraw from the 1000m and 3000m races, Blondin was back on the ice on Sunday and she finished in second place behind South Korea's Bo-Reum Kim. Italy's Francesca Lollobrigida was third. Béatrice Lamarche of Quebec City, QC, ended up 21st.

“A podium is a podium and I'm really happy about the silver,” said Blondin who, last week in Harbin, China, won gold in the mass start and bronze in the 3000m. “I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do it today because of how sick I've been all week.”

“The whole race was a bit of a gong show and I made some mistakes,” added Blondin, who was fifth with one lap to go. “Bo-Reum had an amazing sprint, she did well and just beat me today. But considering how I was feeling, I'm pretty happy.”

In the men's mass start, Jordan Belchos of Toronto, ON, finished in 10th position while Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, QC, was 13th.
 
Marsha Hudey finishes fourth for the third time
In the women's 500m, it was Groundhog Day for Marsha Hudey of White City, SK, as she took fourth place for the third time in a row this season.

Paired with world record holder Sang-Hwa Lee (37.93) of South Korea, who collected silver in Sunday's race, Hudey skated to a time of 38.04 seconds to finish fourth. Japan's Nao Kodaira (37.75) won gold and China's Jing Yu (37.97) earned bronze. Heather McLean (38.40) of Winnipeg, MB, was 11th and Noémie Fiset (39.32) of Quebec City, QC, was 18th.

“It was a great opportunity considering my pair today, because Sang-Hwa Lee is such an exceptional skater,” pointed out Hudey, who was Sunday's fastest skater at the start with a time of 10.40. “I just wanted to make most of the opportunity and try to put together the most beautiful race I could.

“I'm happy with the consistency I've shown in my racing so far. It shows to what extent I've been working on certain things and it gives me confidence everytime I step on the line,” added Hudey, who was also fourth in both 500m races held in China.

The Canadian men had a tougher time in the 500m, as Laurent Dubreuil (35.25) of Lévis, QC, was the top Canadian with a 13th-place finish. William Dutton (35.49) of Humboldt, SK, was 19th. The gold medal was won by Germany's Nico Ihle (34.82), silver by Dutch skater Jan Smeekens (34.89) and bronze by South Korea's Min-Kyu Cha (34.96).

“I really didn't execute my race well,” said Laurent Dubreuil, who was fifth and sixth in the 500m last weekend in China. “I didn't have a good start and I'm having trouble making a good first turn after my start when I’m on the inside. Last week, I had a bad start but I did well to make it up after that during the race. But today, the rest of the race didn't go well either. A 13th-place finish isn't so bad considering I was two tenths of a second away from being competitive and finishing somewhere between fifth and tenth place. Those were two tenths of a second I had in me, but I was unable to go get them. I'm not satisfied.”

In the men's 1500m A group, Vincent de Haître of Cumberland, ON, finished 10th with a time of 1:47.51.
 
Fiola, Boisvert-Lacroix and Morrison all promoted
In the B group races held on Sunday, Christopher Fiola of Montreal, QC, Alex Boisvert-Lacroix of Sherbrooke, QC, and Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., were all able to qualify for the A division in their respective events ahead of the next World Cup stage, which will take place Dec. 2-4 in Astana, Kazakhstan.
 
In the men's 1500m, Denny Morrison was third in the B group with a time of 1:48.26.
 
“It reminded me of the Olympics in some ways,” said Morrison, who won a bronze medal in the 1500m at the 2014 Games in Sochi. “I skated my race and it was what it was. I watched the other pairs to see where I ended up ranking. I kept seeing all the times coming in and realizing that I wasn't being pushed down, or at least not too far. It was really exciting and a pretty emotional thing during the Olympics, and it was kind of similar today. Sunday, my race was just so-so and it was just a B group 1500m, so I shouldn't have been that emotional about the race. But I've been through two years of training really hard. There are still things to improve, but for today, I'm really proud of my result and it was a great experience to see myself hold on for a podium in the B group, all things considered.”

In the men's 500m B group, Christopher Fiola finished second with a time of 35.33, followed by Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (35.40), who was third. Both skaters will be in the A division for the race in that distance in Astana.

“I replayed the race several times in my mind before today,” said Fiola, who was paired with Gilmore Junio. “Being promoted to the A group takes away some stress, and it also means the level of competition will be higher.”

“It was not a perfect race, obviously, but I'm happy that I'm getting my legs back,” said Boisvert-Lacroix. “I should be better in my next races. I'm also very happy about being back in the big league!”

Kaylin Irvine of Calgary, AB, barely missed qualifying for the A group in the women's 500m as she finished in fourth place.

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

Mass Start W
SILVER : Ivanie Blondin
21. Béatrice Lamarche

500m W (A)
4. Marsha Hudey (38.04)
11. Heather McLean (38.40)
18. Noémie Fiset (39.32)

1500m M (A)
10. Vincent de Haître (1:47.51)

Mass Start M
10. Jordan Belchos
13. Olivier Jean

500m M (A)
13. Laurent Dubreuil (35.25)
19. William Dutton (35.49)

1500m W (A)
16. Isabelle Weidemann (1:58.99)
18. Brianne Tutt (1:59.34)

500m M (B)
2. Christopher Fiola (35.33)
3. Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (35.40)
8. Gilmore Junio (35.60)

1500m M (B)
3. Denny Morrison (1:48.26)
18. Richard Maclennan (1:50.36)

500m W (B)
4. Kaylin Irvine (39.50)

1500m W (B)
20. Kaylin Irvine (2:02.35)
22. Béatrice Lamarche (2:02.83)

More details 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, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.

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Patrick Godbout
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