Ivanie Blondin wins silver & is crowned World Cup vice champion in mass start, Gilmore Junio ends up third overall in the 500m

Heerenveen, Netherlands March 13, 2016 –Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa, ON won silver in the mass start race, Sunday, at the World Cup Final in Heerenveen, Netherlands, to finish second overall in World Cup standings in this event. On the men's side, Gilmore Junio raced to a 5th place finish in the second 500m of the competition to place third overall for the 2015-2016 season.

In a spectacular race for the final mass start event of the year, Blondin crossed the line in a time of 8 minutes 16.68 seconds to be edged out of the top spot by Dutch skater Irene Schouten -- who fell, but got back up and finished in 8:16.63. Third place went to Japan’s Miho Takagi in 8:16.93.

By winning silver on Sunday, Blondin finished out the season with a total of 420 points in the 2015-16 overall World Cup standings for the mass start event. The strong rivalry between Blondin and Schouten is reflected in the closeness of points earned between the Dutch and Canadian skaters. Schouten (466) and Takagi (271) finished first and third overall, respectively.

“When Schouten fell, I thought I had it, but then her teammate went back to pull her up to the group, so I tried to pick up the pace of the race, but they still caught us. In the last corner, I went too wide and she was able to squeeze between me and Takagi. I keep replaying it in my mind and I don’t know if it was mental fatigue or what,” explained Blondin, who was World Cup champion in the mass start in 2014-2015. “Competing with her head-to-head makes us better skaters and mass start athletes. We battle and push each other to a greater level.”

“It’s frustrating, but winning the World Championship title was definitely more important to me this season. In the end, I get to come home with another medal and another accomplishment. I’m proud to bring this home for Canada,” said Blondin, who won the women's mass start event at the World Single Distance Championships, last February in Russia.

Mission accomplished for Junio
In the men’s 500m, Junio raced in the final pairing of the event and finished fifth with a time of 35.10 seconds. The top three were Ronald Mulder (34.81) of the Netherlands, Ruslan Murashov (34.89) of Russia and Mika Poutala (35.02) of Finland.

With his bronze Friday and fifth-place result Sunday, Junio was able to climb up the standings and finish third in the 2015-2016 overall 500m World Cup standings. First place was awarded to the absent Pavel Kulizhnikov of Russia and second place to his teammate Murashov.

“I had a really good start and first 100m, but I was nervous going into the race and got tight and made too many mistakes. It wasn’t the best race today, but I’m really proud of my season,” said Junio.

“I’ve wanted to accomplish this for a long time, but if you would have told me at the beginning of the season I would end up third overall, I would have laughed. I went into this year focusing on a rebuilding season and on taking care of my injuries. My goal was to get back to where I could be competitive again with the best in the world. It’s a testament to how far our team has come as a whole, from last year to now,” reflected Junio.

Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, QC was 9th in 35.28, William Dutton (35.39) was 10th, Alexandre St-Jean (35.40) was 11th and Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (35.54) finished 12th in the 500m event.

The Canadian men stood strong in the 500m overall World Cup standings with all five in the top 13. With Junio third, Boisvert-Lacroix fifth, Dutton eighth, Dubreuil ninth and St-Jean 13th, it made for an impressive showing to conclude the season.

In the men’s mass start, Jordan Belchos finished eighth and Robert Watson placed 11th. In the overall World Cup standings Belchos finished up 7th and Watson 10th.

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

500m (2) M
5. Gilmore Junio (35.10)
9. Laurent Dubreuil (35.28)
10. William Dutton (35.39)
11. Alexandre St-Jean (35.40)
12. Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (35.54)

Final ranking
3. Gilmore Junio (637)
5. Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (508)
8. William Dutton (468)
9. Laurent Dubreuil (464)
13. Alexandre St-Jean (338)

Mass Start W
2. Ivanie Blondin (8:16.88)

Final Ranking
2. Ivanie Blondin (420)
17. Josie Spence (88)
31. Isabelle Weidemann (9)

1500m M
10. Vincent de Haître (1:47.89)

Final Ranking
11. Vincent de Haître (133)
28. Ted-Jan Bloemen (25)
34. Benjamin Donnelly (11)
41. Olivier Jean (6)

Mass Start M
8. Jordan Belchos (8:35.94, 1 point)
11. Robert Watson (8:12.42, 0 point)

Final Ranking
7. Jordan Belchos (147)
10. Robert Watson (123)
29. Olivier Jean (23)

1000m W
Final Ranking
23. Kaylin Irvine (49)
33. Kali Christ (19)
37. Heather McLean (17)
43. Anastasia Bucsis (1)

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.

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, City of Montreal, Calgary Olympic Oval and WinSport Canada.

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