Long Track mass start events to be officially added to 2018 Olympic Games Program

Long Track speed skating mass start events will be included in the 2018 Olympic Games program in PyeongChang, South Korea, announced the International Olympic Committee today, which was received as great news by last year's ISU World Cup champion in that event, Ivanie Blondin from Ottawa, ON.

 “This is a very special moment for me,” said the 25 year-old skater. “When Denny Morrison texted me this morning to share the good news, I had no idea what he was talking about. When I clicked on the link he sent me, I wanted to cry. I now have the chance to come back to the country with a gold medal!”

In addition to her World Cup title, Ivanie Blondin won two gold medals, two silver and one bronze in World Cups, as well as a silver medal at the World Single Distance Championships in the mass start events last season.

 “I knew the addition of these events would be approved at some point, but I was surprised to see this today,” added Ivanie Blondin. “This news won’t change my preparation. This year, I learned to focus on the process instead of the result. But for sure, I’ll think more about it this week and in upcoming years!”

Mass start long track speed skating events were introduced to the World Cup circuit during the 2011-2012 season. This event consists in a 16-lap race where all skaters start simultaneously, and includes four sprints where points are awarded. The first three athletes to cross the finish line end up on the podium. All other skaters are ranked based on points given out for the four sprints.

“We are very happy to see the addition of these events in the Olympic program,” stated Speed Skating Canada’s High Performance Director, Brian Rahill, who noted that this matter had been discussed over the past two years. “For us, it wasn’t a surprise and we planned our programs accordingly.”

 “In Canada, the majority of our athletes start out skating on short track. Considering this factor, and considering the success our short track athletes had this season and the depth we have in this sport, it will definitively give an advantage to Canada. And we saw that this year when Ivanie Blondin, who has been a Short Track National Team member, was crowned World Cup champion in this event. The talent is there and we are very happy about this announcement.”

In addition, curling mixed doubles, alpine skiing nations team event and snowboard Big Air also have been added to the PyeongChang Winter Games programe.

The International Olympic Committee’s Executive Commission announced its decision today through a press release.
 
“The changes reflect the continued evolution of the Winter Olympic programme and build on the success of recent editions of the Games,” declared the International Olympic Committee. “They also build on the reforms outlined in Olympic Agenda 2020 which aim to create more flexibility in the programme of the Olympic Games.
 
“Requests for changes to the programme were received from the international federations and considered according to the following criteria: added value; youth appeal; attractiveness for TV, media and the general public; gender equality; minimum impact on the number of events and/or quotas; and infrastructure and operational cost and complexity.”

More information can be found on 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 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:
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