Ivanie Blondin wins gold in women's mass start at Long Track World Cup in China

Harbin, China, November 13, 2016 – Ivanie Blondin won gold in the women's mass start event to come up with her second medal of the competition, Sunday, on the last day of the ISU World Cup Long Track Speed Skating stage held in Harbin, China. Meanwhile, Jordan Belchos finished fourth in men's mass start, as did Marsha Hudey in the women's 500m to repeat her performance from Friday's race in that same distance.
 
Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa, ON, who won the world championship title in the women's mass start at the 2016 World Single Distance Championships, kicked off the season on the right foot in this event by finishing ahead of Italy's Francesca Lollobrigida at the finish line by only 15 hundredths of a second. South Korea's Bo-Reum Kim was third. Skating in her first-ever World Cup stage this weekend, Béatrice Lamarche, of Quebec City, QC, was 19th.
 
This was Blondin's second medal of the weekend, after she collected bronze in Friday's 3000m. She also won the women's 1000m in group B to earn a promotion into group A at the next World Cup, to be held next weekend in Nagano, Japan.

“I felt really pumped. I knew I had it in me. I just had to come up with the perfect strategy,” said Ivanie Blondin. “The last lap, I actually went a little bit earlier that I would normally have, to surprise the others and have a head start on them. I didn't really have a race plan going into it. I was just planning to feel things out. Knowing that I had good speed like I had in the 1000m, I knew I was capable of beating all the other skaters at the line. I just went for it and ended it pretty well.”

In the men's mass start, Jordan Belchos of Toronto, ON, was fourth behind South Korea's Seung-Hoon Lee, who won gold, France's Alexis Contin and Italy's Fabio Francolini. Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, QC, was 14th.
 
Belchos therefore tied his best career performance in the mass start. He was also fourth in that event at the Kolomna World Cup, in Russia, in November of 2012.

“My original plan was to stick in the front of the pack and to see if I could get away at some point,” explained Jordan Belchos. “Because I was in an active position for the first half of the race, it ended up paying off with a high ranking. I was also able to get some intermediate points. But I think I spent a little too much energy on that. Ultimately, I was looking for a breakaway to happen at some point.”
 
Marsha Hudey also at the foot of the podium in the 500m
In the second women's 500m of the weekend, Marsha Hudey of White City, SK repeated the performance she came up with in the first race in this distance, held Friday, by coming up with fourth place with a time of 38.37 seconds.

Japan's Nao Kodaira (38.04), South Korea's Sang-Hwa Lee (38.11) and Japan's Maki Tsuji (38.30) ended up on the podium, while Heather McLean, from Winnipeg, was sixth in 38.39.
 
“I'm happy I was able to fix some of the mistakes I made in the first race,” said Heather McLean. “On Friday, I was more focused on the outcome. I didn't feel I was in a race zone. By focusing on certain mental cues going into today's race, it was easier for me to focus on execution.”
 
In the men's 500m, Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, QC, was the top Canadian with a fifth-place finish in 35.20. The gold medal went to Russia's Pavel Kulizhnikov (34.98), silver went to China's Tingyu Gao (34.99) and bronze to South Korea's Tae-Yun Kim (35.20).
 
William Dutton (35.48), of Humboldt, SK, was 14th, Christopher Fiola (35.595) of Montreal, QC, was 18th and Gilmore Junio (35.599) of Calgary, AB, was 19th.

“Today, I attacked well at the start as compared to (Saturday). Yesterday, I was happy about the last 300m but unhappy about the first 200m,” said Laurent Dubreuil. “I had a good start with a time of 9.72, which is six hundredths of a second faster than Saturday; it would have made a difference of two positions in the standings today.

“For sure, in terms of ranking, it wasn't necessarily the result I was hoping for, because I always want to be on the podium,” added Laurent Dubreuil. “But a fifth and a sixth position at the first World Cup of the season, that's really good. I've never had as many points after two races to start a year. It's a very good start to the season.”

Alex Boisvert-Lacroix, the bronze medalist in the 500m at the 2016 World Single Distance Championships, was 11th in Sunday's the B race after having problems with his blades during the week.
 
In the men's 1500m, Vincent de Haître of Cumberland, ON, skated to a time of 1:48.24, good for sixth place. In the B group, Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., was 10th in 1:50.35.

“Since the first day I stepped on the ice after the stroke, people started asking me how it feels to be back,” said Denny Morrison. “Back on ice, back training, back competing, back at trials, back at World Cups… I'd feel more comfortable answering that question once I'm back at World Championships, back on the podium or back at the Olympics. Until then, I'm still on the very long and humbling road back. Speed skating is hard. Coming back won't be easy, but I think I can.”
 
Noémie Fiset of Quebec City, QC, and Brianne Tutt from Airdrie, AB, both came up with their first wins on the World Cup circuit as they won the B races in the weekend's second 500m and the 1500m, respectively. The two skaters therefore qualified for the A races in these distances, set to be held at the next World Cup, next weekend in Nagano, Japan.

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

Mass Start W
GOLD: Ivanie Blondin
19. Béatrice Lamarche

Mass Start M
4. Jordan Belchos
14. Olivier Jean

500m (2) W
4. Marsha Hudey (38.37)
6. Heather McLean (38.39)

500m (2) M
5. Laurent Dubreuil (35.20)
14. William Dutton (35.48)
18. Christopher Fiola (35.595)
19. Gilmore Junio (35.599)

1500m M
6. Vincent de Haître (1:48.24)

1500m W
16. Isabelle Weidemann (2:02.00)

500m (B) W
1. Noémie Fiset (39.40)
9. Kaylin Irvine (40.29)

1500m (B) W
1. Brianne Tutt (2:00.27)
15. Béatrice Lamarche (2:04.46)

1500m (B) M
10. Denny Morrison (1:50.35)
14. Richard Maclennan (1:51.19)

500m (B) M
11. Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (35.97)

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
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Patrick Godbout
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