Ivanie Blondin is crowned world champion in mass start & Alex Boisvert-Lacroix earns bronze in 500m at 2016 ISU World Single Distance Championships

KOLOMNA, Russia, February 14, 2016 – Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa won the world championship title in the women's mass start while Alex Boisvert-Lacroix of Sherbrooke, QC, came up with an exceptional performance in the second 500m race of the day to earn a bronze medal, Sunday, at the 2016 ISU World Single Distance Championships held in Kolomna, Russia.

Canada therefore won a total of four medals over the four-day competition. On Friday, Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary won a silver medal in the 10,000m and the next day he added a bronze in the men's team pursuit along with Jordan Belchos of Toronto and Ben Donnelly of Oshawa, ON. At last year's world championships, Canada also collected four podium results.

On Sunday, Ivanie Blondin won gold in the mass start as she finished ahead of South Korea's Bo-Reum Kim and Japan's Miho Takagi. Heather McLean of Winnipeg, MB, had to settle for 23rd place after she fell with 12 laps to go.

Canada will therefore bring back home a long track world title for the first time since the 2012 World Championships. That year, Denny Morrison (1500m) and Christine Nesbitt (1000m and 1500m) also won gold medals.

“It hasn't sunk in yet. It's exciting and it's something special for me,” said Blondin, who won silver in this discipline at last year's World Championships, “I couldn't be happier. I had a tough time mentally and physically last month, but this race is just the cherry on top of the cake.”

“It was my goal this season to be world champion in the mass start. Finishing second last year gave me the motivation this year to go get the title for Canada, for me, for my coach and for my teammate Josie Spence, who wasn't there with me today but pushed me physically and mentally all year to perform,” added Blondin.

“It was a very tough race, a battle from start to finish. I'm mentally and physically tough, so them shoving me and pushing me motivated me more. It was a kind of a good thing because I shoved them back and showed them who's the boss!”

A great comeback by Alex Boisvert-Lacroix
In the men's 500m, Alex Boisvert-Lacroix collected bronze as he was taking part in his very first career World Championships.

After coming up with the 10th fastest time (35.081) in the first 500m race skated on Sunday, Boisvert-Lacroix made it up in the second race by earning the second fastest time, and the fourth fastest on the day overall, i.e. 34.707, for an overall time of 69.788.

Russians Pavel Kulizhnikov (69.026) and Ruslan Murashov (69.680) respectively won gold and silver.

“It was really a magical moment for me to step on the podium at the World Championships,” said Alex Boisvert-Lacroix.

“My first race was so-so. I didn't come in right in the second turn and I lost a lot of speed. Still, I had a good start, which helped me stay in contention.”

“After that, I felt much more relaxed ahead of my second race. When I got to the starting line, I had nothing left to lose. In fact, I had everything to gain. That allowed me to have a great race. My opening was very good. My second race was almost perfect, in fact. When I saw my time, it was an incredible feeling! I knew I put myself back in contention. It's only at the very end, though, that I learned that I had won a medal. It's William Dutton who told me – otherwise I wouldn't have known because I didn't know how many skaters were left. When he told me, I started to yell I was so happy!”

Gilmore Junio of Calgary, who was sixth (34.956) after the first 500m, had a tougher time in the second leg as he registered the 22nd time (35.859). He ended up 19th overall.

"Obviously, I'm pretty disappointed,” said Gilmore Junio. “Something happened in the last corner, a little bad mistep which cost me a lot. I felt a little bit out of control. You live and learn, and hopefully that won't happen at the Olympics."

William Dutton of Humboldt, SK, was for his part seventh in each of the two races, and he finished eighth overall.

In the men's mass start, Belchos was 10th while Stefan Waples of Winnipeg, MB, was 23rd. South Korea's Seung-Hoon Lee won the race, followed by Arjan Stroetinga of the Netherlands and by France's Alexis Contin.

In the women's 1500m, Kali Christ (1:58.78) of Regina, SK, finished 14th, Brianne Tutt (1:59.45) of Airdrie, AB, finished 21st and Josie Spence (2:03.33) of Kamloops, B.C., finished 24th. Jorien ter Mors of the Netherlandswon gold, followed by American skaters Heather Richardson-Bergsma (1:54.67) and Brittany Bowe (1:55.09).

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

Mass Start W
GOLD: Ivanie Blondin
23. Heather McLean

500m M
BRONZE: Alex Boisvert-Lacroix – (35.081 (10) + 34.707 (2)) - 69.788
8. William Dutton – (35.022 (7) + 34.941 (7)) - 69.963
19. Gilmore Junio – (34.956 (6) + 35.859 (22)) - 70.815

Mass Start M
10. Jordan Belchos
23. Stefan Waples

1500m W
14. Kali Christ – 1:58.78
21. Brianne Tutt - 1:59.45
24. Josie Spence – 2:03.33

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.

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Kerry Dankers
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