Vincent de Haître & Kali Christ win 1,000m titles at ISU Fall World Cup Long Track Selections

Vincent de Haître of Cumberland, Ont., and Kali Christ of Regina won the 1,000m events, Sunday at the Calgary Olympic Oval, at the ISU Fall World Cup Long Track Selections.

They both added to their victories posted earlier in the week, in the 1,500m races.

Also Sunday, on the last day of the selections, Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa and Rob Watson of Whitby, Ont., won the 16-lap mass start races.

De Haître became the 43rd skater in history to skate under 1:08 in the 1,000m when he came up with a blazing time of one minute 7.71 seconds. Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., who won the Olympic silver medal in that distance in Sochi last February, finished second in 1:07.98. Tyler Derraugh of Winnipeg was third in 1:08.44.

“I’m really thankful for the guys in my training group,” De Haître said. “They are all very strong and they push me every day, so I have to show up ready to race.”

After placing fifth at the selections, de Haître is also in position to skate in the 500m at the first four World Cups, beginning with the event in Obihiro, Japan, on Nov. 14-16.

Christ and Blondin each had two races scheduled on Sunday. Christ won the 1,000m in 1:16.21, followed by Blondin, a long distance specialist, who finished second in 1:16.24. Alexandra Ianculescu of Toronto was third in 1:16.75.

Blondin then took the mass start title in 9:12.83, followed by Christ in 9:13.88 and Victoria Spence of Kamloops, B.C., in 9:14.36.

Christ, who lost a week of training prior to the selections due to an injury, was satisfied with her performance this week.

“Overall it hasn’t been bad, I did what I needed to do to qualify for the World Cups,” she said.

Watson has secured Canada’s lone men’s spot for the mass start at the fall World Cups. He outraced Derraugh at the finish line — 7:54.13 to 7:54.59. Mikhail Choi of Montreal was third in 7:55.05. Twenty-four men participated.

Watson is a former short tracker who switched to long track two years ago. He is now coached by national team coach Xiuli Wang.

“I wasn’t expecting this, so I'm very pleased with the fact that it did happen,” said Watson.

Mass start events are getting a bigger push on the World Cup circuit this season because they will be added to the medal schedule for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Speed Skating Canada's Long Track National Team members for the first four ISU World Cups of the season will be officially announced in the upcoming weeks.

Based on the Canadian team selection criteria for the fall World Cups, Morrison is the only one who was pre-selected for the team, as he was the only athlete who placed among the top 5 at the 2014 Olympic Games in one or more individual distances.

Other skaters, including a minimum of eight women and eight men, will be selected based on their results this week in Calgary, up to a maximum of 20 athletes. They will be selected using trial results, and skaters will also be picked at the discretion of Speed Skating Canada’s Long Track High Performance Committee, in consultation with the national team coaches.

Canada secured the following quota spots for 2014-15 World Cups based on last season's results:

Women: 500m (4), 1,000m (4), 1,500m (4), 3,000m/5,000m (3), mass start (2)
Men: 500m (5), 1,000m (4), 1,500m (4), 5,000m/10,000m (2), mass start (1)

Full results: 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 
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