Vincent De Haître earns silver & Ivanie Blondin collects bronze at 2017 ISU World Single Distance Championships

GANGNEUNG, South Korea, February 11, 2017 – Vincent De Haître earned the silver medal in the men's 1000m and Ivanie Blodin collected bronze in the women's 5000m, Saturday, at the 2017 ISU World Single Distance Championships that will be held until Sunday in Gangneung, South Korea. With these podium results, De Haître and Blondin also filled the first criteria for pre-selection on the Canadian team at the 2018 Olympic Games.
 
In the men's 1000m, Vincent De Haître of Cumberland, ON, came up with his first-ever medal at World Single Distance Championships, doing so one year away from the Olympic Games, on the same ice where the long track speed skating races will be held in South Korea.
 
De Haître skated to a time of 1:08.54, Saturday, giving him silver and a spot between two Dutch skaters, Kjeld Nuis (1:08.26) and Kai Verbij (1:08.78). Laurent Dubreuil (1:09.43) from Lévis, QC, took eighth place while Alexandre St-Jean (1:09.56) of Quebec City, QC, was 12th.
 
“It's still sinking in,” said Vincent De Haître, who won gold in the 1000m at the third World Cup stage of the season, held in Kazakhstan. “I knew I had the potential to do it throughout the season, but there was still a lot of work to do to be able to reach it. I'm confident that this is a pretty good step for my progression towards the Olympics and I'm excited to see how it will go.
 
“All week long, I worked on speed, but my coach told me the last part of my race was my best, which surprised me because it wasn't our main focus. Our main focus was to be relaxed and getting up to speed as effectively as possible. It really benefitted me, especially on this ice surface that reminds me of Calgary, which was an advantage for me.”

In the women's 5000m, Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa, ON, earned bronze in 6:57.14. Martina Sáblíková (6:52.38) of the Czech Republic won gold, followed by Germany's Claudia Pechstein (6:53.93).
 
“It was a great race from start to finish. I showed that I was gutsy,” said Ivanie Blondin, who finished fourth in Thursday's 3000m. “The 3000m really got to me personally, as did the team pursuit. I really wanted that medal and I was so close to it. It kind of made me get fired up about it.”

“It's a great feeling to finally put the effort and to show how fierce I can be on the ice, and to finally come home with a medal!,” added Blondin, who will be looking on Sunday to defend her world championship title in the women's mass start.

“I'm pretty excited and it alleviates a little bit of the stress too. Going into Sunday's race, I know I'm strong and I know I'm there. I just have to be mentally prepared for tomorrow and be smart about the race, and make sure I don't fall into the same trap as I did at World Cup #4,” explained Blondin, who was 10th in that race, held in Heerenveen.
 
De Haître and Blondin allowed Canada to win its first medals since 2009 in these distances at World Single Distance Championships. That year, when the competition was held in Richmond, B.C., Clara Hughes and Denny Morrison had respectively earned silver medals in the women's 5000m and men's 1000m.
 
De Haître and Blondin pre-selected for the 2018 Olympic Games
By each winning an individual medal on Saturday, De Haître and Blondin also filled the first criteria for pre-selection on the Canadian team for the 2018 Olympic Games. This pre-selection qualification will require performance confirmation(s) during the 2017 Fall World Cups. Detailed selection criteria will be available after this weekend's competition.
 
“I never thought about how I would feel about being pre-qualified for the Olympics,” said Vincent De Haître. “Now that you mention it, it feels pretty good!”
 
“It was a little bit unexpected today, but I knew that I was feeling really well this entire week,” added Ivanie Blondin. “To know that I already have that first step of pre-qualification for the 5000m, well, I’m pretty excited about it! I’m kind of sad that I missed it in the 3000m, but at the same time I'm glad that I at least got one of them. I’m pretty happy about it, but it’s still a long road.”
 
The number of pre-selection nominations will be limited to the number of quota spots, minus one (-1), that Canada earns for each distance during the 2017 Fall World Cups, thereby leaving one quota position available per distance for the 2018 Olympic Trials which will be held January 4-9, 2018, at Calgary’s Olympic Oval.
 
Ted-Jan Bloemen at the foot of the podium
In the men's 10,000m, Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary, AB, ended up at the foot of the podium, finishing fourth, two seconds away from a bronze medal. He skated to a time of 12:54.63.
 
A silver medalist in that distance at last year's World Single Distance Championships, Bloemen saw Sven Kramer win gold, the Dutch skater threatening his world record time of 12:36.30 by skating the race in 12:38.99. Jorrit Bergsma (12:43.95), also from the Netherlands, earned silver while Germany's Patrick Beckert (12:52.76) collected bronze.
 
“I'm knocking on the door every time,” noted Bloemen who, on Thursday, finished fifth in the 5000m. “This is really a big disappointment for me. But we have to look at how close I am and how competitive I am. Still, I am not performing at my best this week and that's on me. I have some things to work on. I was also nervous this week and that got in my skating a little bit, and that can't happen again. I know on what things I need to work on, aiming for a gold medal next year is in my range and I have to make it happen.”
 
Isabelle Weidemann of Ottawa, ON, and Jordan Belchos from Toronto, ON, both came up with new personal bests for the second time this week. Weidemann skated the 5000m distance in 6:59.75, Saturday, to finish sixth. Her previous personal best stood at 7:03.08. As for Belchos, he finished sixth and beat his personal best by five seconds, improving it from 13:06.07 to 13:01.40.
 
In the women's 1000m, Kaylin Irvine of Calgary, AB, and Heather McLean of Winnipeg, MB, respectively took 18th and 19th place.
 
On Sunday, the last day of the competition, the schedule will feature the 1500m and mass start races, both men's and women's.

Broadcast on CBC
The performances of the Canadian team will be broadcast on CBC this Sunday, February 12th, from 1 pm to 2 pm. Saturday and Sunday races will also be webstreamed live on www.cbcsports.ca while all races will also be webstreamed live on the ISU Skating Channel at http://www.eurovisionsports.tv/isu/.

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

1000m M
SILVER – Vincent De Haître (1:08.54)
8. Laurent Dubreuil (1:09.43)
12. Alexandre St-Jean (1:09.56)

5000m W
BRONZE – Ivanie Blondin (6:57.14)
6. Isabelle Weidemann (6:59.75)

10,000m M
4. Ted-Jan Bloemen (12:54,63)
6. Jordan Belchos (13:01,40)

1000m W
18. Kaylin Irvine (1:17.15)
19. Heather McLean (1:17.18)

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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For information:
Patrick Godbout
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Kerry Dankers
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