Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa won her first career gold medal at a ISU World Cup long track speed skating event, Sunday, as she finished first in the women’s mass start race held in Obihiro, Japan.
Blondin, 24, won her first individual gold medal in five years on the World Cup circuit. So far, she had collected two silver and a bronze in mass start as well as gold, silver and bronze in team pursuit.
“I'm extremely pleased with how the race turned out,” said Blondin. “All my experience skating short track for so many years paid off, because in mass start you have to fight to find a good lane. There was shoving and pushing, so it's a good thing I can be aggressive!”
Blondin’s winning time over the 16-lap race, which had a field of 20 women, was eight minutes, 33.34 seconds. Second place went to Nana Takagi of Japan in 8:33.44 and third to Irene Schouten of the Netherlands in 8:33.54.
Josie Spence of Kamloops, B.C., finished seventh in 8:37.67.
Mass start is scheduled to become a medal event at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Denny Morrison was fourth in the first men’s 1,500m he skated this season. The Fort St. John, B.C., athlete finished 0.15 seconds from a bronze medal in his 50th career World Cup 1,500m.
“This is a pleasant surprise”, said Morrison. “I typically have slow starts to the season and build up towards the more important competitions at the end of the year, so this is a great place to start – especially when you consider that this result is one place better than my best 1,500m race before the Olympics last season,” added Morrison, who picked up a bronze in the 1,500m at the Sochi Olympics.
Canada had two other near podium results in Obihiro, both on Saturday. Vincent de Haitre of Cumberland, Ont., was fourth in the 1,000m, while the women’s team pursuit of Blondin, Spence and Kali Christ of Regina were one spot off the podium.
Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, Que., posted his second top 8 result of the weekend in the 500m, placing eighth Sunday in 35.38 seconds. He was sixth in Friday’s opener.
Gilmore Junio of Calgary was 13th in the 500m in 35.49 and William Dutton of Humboldt, Sask., placed 15th in 35.63.
In the men's mass start, Robert Watson of Whitby, Ont., was 11th in 8:17.63.
The Canadian team will travel to Seoul, South Korea for the second World Cup of the season, Nov. 21-23.
Also Sunday in Obihiro, Christ finished 14th in the women’s 1,500m A competition in 2:01.64. Marsha Hudey of White City, Sask., was 18th in the 500m A event in 39.44.
A third-place result in the men’s 1,500m B group, Sunday, will move Alec Janssens of Chilliwack, B.C., up to the A group for the next World Cup. His time was 1:49.46. De Haitre placed eighth (1:50.21) and Tyler Derraugh of Winnipeg was 19th (1:50.21).
Kate Hanly of Calgary was the top Canadian in the women’s 1,500m B group. She was 12th in 2:06.11. Lauren McGuire of Ottawa was 14th (2:08.42) while Spence suffered a fall and finished 16th.
In the 500m B races, Heather McLean of Winnipeg was sixth in 39.51, Alexandra Ianculescu of Toronto eighth in 39.73 and Tamara Oudenaarden of Edmonton 12th in 40.38. Richard MacLennan of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., was seventh in the men’s race in 35.86, and de Haitre was 10th in 36.00.
The Seoul World Cup will include distances of 500m, 1,000m, 1,500m, 5,000m for women, 10,000m for men and two mass starts.
Also heading to Seoul is Ted-Jan Bloemen, the Dutch-born skater with dual citizenship. He will make his international debut for Canada in the only 10,000m race on the 2014-15 World Cup schedule.
For complete results of Saturday’s competition and a pairings list for Sunday’s events please visit http://live.isuresults.eu/2014-2015/obihiro/.
More information 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 13,000 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 sponsor Intact Insurance, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.
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Coordinator, Media and Communications Services – long track
Speed Skating Canada
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Phone: 514 213-9897