Ivanie Blondin kicks off the new season with a bronze medal in the 3000m at the ISU World Cup Long Track Speed Skating stage in Harbin, China

Harbin, China, November 11, 2016 – Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa, ON, earned the bronze medal in the women's 3000m, her first career medal in that distance, Friday, to kick off the new 2016-2017 pre-Olympic international season in long track speed skating at the first World Cup stage of the season that is taking place until Sunday in Harbin, China. For her part, Marsha Hudey of White City, SK, earned her best-ever result in the 500m distance by coming up with a 4th-place finish.

Ninth in last season's overall World Cup standings in the 3000m distance, Blondin skated Friday's event in 4:09.78, good for the bronze medal. Czech skater Martina Sábliková (4:08.26) and Dutch athlete Marije Joling (4:09.40) respectively won gold and silver. Isabelle Weidemann, also from Ottawa, took the 9th spot (4:12.91).

“I definitively wasn't expecting that. When my coach and Ted-Jan (Bloemen) came over to announce that I'd won bronze, I said, 'What? There's no way this happened',” said Blondin, whose best result in the 3000m at the international level so far had been a 4th-place finish at the World Cup stage held in Inzell, Germany, in December of 2014.

“Still, I was a little bit more confident than usual going into this race, knowing that the ice is a little bit slower and that I'm more of a gritty skater, so it kind of played to my advantage. I was telling myself that a top-5 result would be good.”
 
“It's exciting and this definitivelly starts the season on the right foot. I feel super strong and I'm skating in a super positive training environment. The guys have been really positive with me and pushing me at every training session. Having Bart (Schouten) as a coach is also really positive for me as well. That was major changes for me this season.”

In the first women's 500m slated for the weekend, Marsha Hudey skated to a time of 38.29 seconds for a 4th-place finish, which represents her best-ever result at the international level. Japanese skaters Nao Kodaira (38.00) and Marki Tsuji (38.17) finished respectively first and second, followed by China's Jing Yu (38.18).

“I feel I executed the things that I wanted to execute and gave it my best,” said Hudey, whose previous best had been a 6th-place finish at last season's World Cup #3 in Inzell, Germany. “Still, I felt there is a little bit more I could have done in my first 100m, which is usually my stronger part. This was the first time I was skating here, so I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of my time and when I crossed the finish line.”
 
Heather McLean of Winnipeg, MB, took 8th place with a time of 38.65. McLean, who was sixth in last season's overall standings in this distance, was unable to take part in the Fall World Cup Selections because she was suffering from sinusitis.

In the men's 5000m, Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary was 8th (6:29.81) while Jordan Belchos (6:36.67) of Toronto, ON, was 15th.

“It wasn't a great start for me,” said Bloemen, who won two medals in this event last season on the World Cup circuit. “I didn't get the feeling in my technique that I wanted, and that cost me too much energy. It's pretty disapointing, but there is a lot of good stuff I can bring to the next race.”

The competition will continue on Saturday with the 1000m, the team pursuit event as well as the first of two men's 500m slated for the weekend. Five Canadian skaters will be taking part in Saturday's 500m race : Alex Boisvert-Lacroix, Gilmore Junio, William Dutton, Laurent Dubreuil and Christopher Fiola. Fiola is taking part this weekend in his first career World Cup.

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS
3000m W
BRONZE: Ivanie Blondin (4:09.78)
9. Isabelle Weidemann (4:12.91)

500m (1) W
4. Marsha Hudey (38.29)
8. Heather McLean (38.65)

5000m M
8. Ted-Jan Bloemen (6:29.81)
15. Jordan Belchos (6:36.67)

500m (1) W (B)
5. Kaylin Irvine (39.70)
6. Noémie Fiset (39.75)

3000m W (B)
10. Brianne Tutt (4:18.01)

More information, including the competition schedule, is available at Speed Skating Canada’s website: 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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For information:
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

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