Long Track Olympic season starts this weekend with the Fall World Cups Selections

Calgary, October 16, 2017 – The road to PyeongChang will start this week for Canadian long track speed skaters as they will take part in the Fall World Cups Selections, October 19-22, at Calgary’s Olympic Oval.
 
This competition will take place in order to select the Canadian representatives who will compete at the first four ISU World Cup Long Track stages of the 2017-2018 season: in Heerenveen, the Netherlands (November 10-12), Stavanger, Norway (November 17-19), Calgary (December 1-3), and Salt Lake City, U.S.A., December (8-10).
 
The first four ISU World Cups of this season will not only be useful in the athletes’ preparation toward PyeongChang, but also for countries to qualify spots in each individual distance as well as to pre-select athletes for the 2018 Olympic Games, upon some conditions.
 
Individual medalists at the 2017 World Single Distance Championships Ivanie Blondin and Vincent De Haître will be among those competing. Ted-Jan Bloemen, who broke the 5000m Canadian record and missed the 3000m world record by only nine hundredths of a second a few weeks ago at the Olympic Oval’s Fall Classic, will also be in action.

Five athletes pre-selected for the World Cups
Based on Speed Skating Canada’s selection criteria, Canada will send a team comprised of a maximum of 20 skaters to the first two Fall World Cups, including those already pre-selected having finished among the top five in one or more events at the 2017 World Single Distance Championships, i.e. Ted-Jan Bloemen from Calgary (4th in the 10 000m and 5th in the 5000m), Ivanie Blondin from Ottawa (bronze in the 5000m and 4th in the 3000m), Vincent De Haître from Cumberland, ON, (silver in the 1000m and 4th in the 1500m), Olivier Jean from Lachenaie, QC, (bronze in mass start) and Heather McLean from Winnipeg (5th in the 500m). These five athletes are already qualified in their respective events for the four first international competitions.
 
Other team members will be selected based on the final ranking per distance for a maximum of two skaters in mass start, three in the 5000m and the men’s 10,000m, four in the women’s 500m, the 1000m, the 1500m and the women’s 3000m and 5000m, and five in the men’s 500m. Skaters will also have to achieve time standards for the event in which they pre-qualify.
 
World Cups objective: qualify spots for Canada
Canadian representatives for the four first World Cups of the season will aim to qualify the maximum number of spots per event at the Olympic Games, i.e. three in the 500m, 1000m, 1500m, women’s 3000m and men’s 5000m, two in the women’s 5000m, men’s 10,000m and mass start, as well as one in team pursuit per gender.
 
Following the Fall World Cups, the ISU will publish a Special Olympic Qualification Classification which will determine allocated spots per country in each individual distance for the Olympic Games. Most of the spot’s allocation will be based on overall World Cup ranking and the rest, on times.
 
A maximum of ten athletes per gender can be selected to the Olympic Team. Athletes will be selected based on achieving the performance standard for the event and earning the quota spot.
 
Opportunity to pre-qualify for the Olympic Games
Canadian skaters could also pre-qualify for the Olympic Games by their performances at the Fall World Cups, in such than any athlete who wins a medal in an individual event in a World Cup this Fall and who finishes among the top five based on the Special Olympic Qualification Classification (SOQC) based on points following the first four World Cups will pre-qualify for PyeongChang in this event.
 
Following their individual medal at the 2017 World Single Distance Championships, Ivanie Blondin, in the 5000m, and Vincent De Haître, in the 1000m, have already pre-qualified for the 2018 Olympic Games, as long as they win a medal in this event and that Canada qualifies a spot in the women’s 5000m and men’s 1000m this Fall.
 
The Canadian team will fill its roster at the 2018 Long Track Team Selections which will be held January 4-9 at Calgary’s Olympic Oval.
 
Special process in mass start
In the mass start event, the Olympic qualification process in Canada started on Saturday, October 14, with the first of two qualification events for the Fall World Cups where athletes will add up points for a final ranking. Following the two events, up to two best skaters per gender will represent Canada at the four first World Cups of the season.

Saturday, Keri Morrison from Burlington, ON, won the first women’s race, followed closely by Ivanie Blondin and Béatrice Lamarche from Quebec City, QC. On the men’s side, Christopher Fiola from Montreal, QC, took advantage of the fall of Denny Morrison from Fort St. John, B.C., in the last turn where he was in leading position, to grab the win. Jordan Belchos from Markham, ON, and Ben Donnelly from Oshawa, ON, finished respectively second and third.

The second event will be held Sunday, October 22 to end the Fall World Cups Selections.

These up to four skaters will then aim to qualify spots for Canada at the Fall World Cups. Then, to secure their spot, they will have to rank in the top 16 of the Special Olympic Qualification Classification by points. First place will go to the best ranked skater and the second spot to the one following.
 
The full 2018 Olympic Selection Policies and Processes are available at www.speedskating.ca/2018-og/.
 
Competitions will be webstreamed live on the Olympic Oval’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/.
 
Additional details are available on Speed Skating Canada’s website at www.speedskating.ca.

About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, SSC is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial associations. Speed Skating Canada is committed to Challenge and Inspire Canada to Thrive through the power of Speed Skating. 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. www.speedskating.ca

Speed Skating Canada would like to thank its sponsors:

Premium partner: Intact Insurance
Funding partners: Government of Canada (Sport Canada), Own The Podium, Canadian Olympic Committee
Official On-Ice High Performance Apparel: Li-Ning
Long Track Team Sponsor: KIA
Official Suppliers: Auclair, USANA
Official Technical Equipment Supplier: Nagano Skate
Sport Development Partners: Winsport Canada, Calgary’s Olympic Oval, University of Calgary, Institut national du sport du Québec, Government of Quebec, Canadian Sport Institute-Calgary, City of Montreal, Quebec City, Conseil du sport de haut niveau de Québec

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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