Laurent Dubreuil wins first-ever World Cup medal, Ivanie Blondin adds a third one this season

The Canadian long track speed skating team earned two podiums at the ISU World Cup in Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, as Laurent Dubreuil won his first-ever World Cup medal and Ivanie Blondin captured her third medal of the season.

Dubreuil, of Lévis, Que., won a bronze in the men's 500m, while Blondin, of Ottawa, claimed a bronze in the women’s mass start, to follow her win in the opening mass start last week in Obihiro, Japan. She also took bronze in the 5,000m in Seoul on Friday.

Dubreuil had finished eighth or better in each of this three previous 500m races so far this season at the World Cup. Pavel Kultzhinikov of Russia won the 500m gold, Sunday, in 35.18. South Korea's Mo Tae-Bum claimed silver in 35.32, edging out Dubreuil’s time of 35.35 by 0.03 seconds.

“I felt really good during my race and I knew, when I saw my time, that my chances of being on the podium were good,” said Dubreuil, 22. “The wait after my skate was long and stressful, because there were still five pairs left to the competition. But I'm extremely happy with third place and that my time was good enough to hold up for bronze!”

Dubreuil admits this first World Cup medal took more time to come than he expected, after setting the current world junior 500m record of 34.66 seconds in his second World Cup race on Jan. 22, 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He finished fourth in that race, his best World Cup showing until Sunday.

“The road to get to where I am today was long and hard, but I think that it's this difficult journey that is at the root of today's success,” said Dubreuil, who won the 2012 World Junior Championship in the 500m. “I'm now better and stronger because of the challenges that I've faced as an athlete, and also as a person.”

Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic won the women’s mass start in 7:42.96, followed by Irene Schouten of the Netherlands (7:45.05), who finished 0.01 seconds in front of Blondin (7:45.06). The 24-year-old Canadian skater now has six career individual World Cup medals, half of those won in the past two weeks.

“I felt pretty confident going into the race,” said Blondin. “It was just a matter of placing myself in the right position and draft as much as I could. I'm extremely happy with a bronze medal.”

One hour and a half earlier, Blondin finished fifth in the women's 1000m in 1:18.12, earning her best result in that distance this season, after finishing 16th in Obihiro, Japan, one week ago. She has not skated in the 1000m at the World Cup level in past years.

“I went into the 1000m race with the mindset that I was going to use it as a type of warm up for the mass start,” noted Blondin. “I just wanted to be relaxed and to skate technically well. I believe I surprised a couple of people, including myself, by finishing fifth in this distance.”

Kali Christ, of Regina, finished 12th in 1:18.96 in the women's 1000m, and 15th in 7:53.04 in the women's mass start.

In the men's mass start, Tyler Derraugh of Winnipeg was 14th in 8:17.09, while Rob Watson of Whitby, Ont., was 24th in 8:29.12.

Gilmore Junio of Calgary was eighth in the 500m while William Dutton of Humboldt, Sask., was 21st.

Alexandra Ianculescu of Toronto improved by six spots from 13th to seventh in the women's 1000m B from her World Cup debut in that distance last week in Obihiro. Heather McLean of Winnipeg was 15th in that race on Sunday.

Richard MacLennan of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., placed eighth in the men’s 500m B race. Vincent de Haître of Cumberland, Ont., finished 11th.

The World Cup team now travels to Berlin, Germany to train in preparation for the third World Cup of the season, Dec. 5-7.

Jamie Gregg wins at CanAms
Meanwhile, national team member Jamie Gregg of Edmonton, won the 1000m Saturday at the CanAm International competition in Calgary. Gregg qualified for the fall World Cup team but opted not to compete in Asia.

Development team member Stefan Waples won the men’s 3000m at CanAms.

At the ISU Junior World Cup regional competition, also in Calgary, Canadian Training Squad member Isabelle Weidemann of Ottawa captured a silver in the women’s 3000m, while another Ottawa skater, Ben Donnelly, took silver in the men’s 3000m and bronze in the 1000m.

The Junior World Cup regional, which involves 48 athletes from Canada, Japan and the United States, wraps up Sunday starting at 10:15 a.m, local time. The CanAms also conclude Sunday with the first race scheduled for 9 a.m.

Full results are available through 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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For information:
Jeff MacKinnon   
Coordinator, Media and Communications Services – long track
Speed Skating Canada
Email: jmackinnon@speedskating.ca
Phone: 403-860-9525
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
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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