Blondin Wins Silver in Ladies’ Mass Start at Long Track World Championships

Gélinas-Beaulieu earns top 10 result in men’s 1500m

INZELL, GERMANY – Ivanie Blondin reached the podium at the 2019 ISU World Single Distance Championships with a silver medal performance in the ladies’ mass start on Sunday in Inzell, Germany. It was the second medal for Canada at the competition, having also won silver in the ladies’ team sprint and earned nine top 10 results.

Blondin of Ottawa, Ont. got tripped up in a collision on the tenth lap of the race, one that took out fellow Canadian Valérie Maltais, but bounced back to her feet quickly and rejoined the pack. She pulled away during the last lap but was passed in the final stretch, finishing the race in second place.

The Canadian posted a time of 8:28.460 and earned 40 sprint points, behind gold medalist Irene Schouten of the Netherlands (8:27.840 and 60 sprint points). Russia’s Elizaveta Kazelina (8:29.290 and 20 sprint points) brought home the bronze.

“I’m pretty ecstatic about the result today,” said Blondin. “I sacrificed my 1500m race today to save my legs for the final sprint. I was able to start the final sprint a bit earlier and create a gap, so I’m really happy with my decision and race plan.”

It was Blondin’s third medal in the mass start since the discipline was introduced in 2015. She was crowned world champion in 2016 and won silver in 2015. She has also won 24 mass start medals on the World Cup circuit – five gold, eleven silver and eight bronze.

“I started off this competition with a very unsettling result in the 3000m,” added Blondin. “Sometimes life throws you a curveball, but I knew that I’d be the one to come back and hit it out of the park."

While the mass start is not a traditional team event, Blondin was thankful to have a teammate by her side.

“I am extremely grateful for my teammate Valerie (Maltais), who had my back the entire race and showed some true grit. Val and I go way back to short track where we competed and trained together. Going into this race, I had a feeling of comfort knowing she was on the start line with me.”

Unfortunately, Maltais of Saguenay, Que. was unable to finish the race as a result of the collision, finishing in 23rd place. Meanwhile, Canada’s lone representative in the men's mass start Jess Neufeld of Winnipeg, Man. was 24th in his race.

Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu of Sherbrooke, Que. skated his fastest time of the season on Sunday to earn an eighth-place finish in the men’s 1500m. It was his best individual result on the world championship stage, surpassing his previous best of 21st in the 1000m set earlier this week.

“Even thought my 1000m went well, I knew I was going to have a better performance today if I could repeat the same speed from practice, but in a more relaxed way,” said Gélinas-Beaulieu. “The goal was to breath well and the rest would come. I executed the plan tremendously, and although I recognize that I have a lot of work left to do, my first top 10 at a world championship validates the hard work that I have put in and shows that I’ve found the right training and recovery formula.”

“The next step will be an immediate return to training so that I be ready for the World Allround Championships, a competition where I know I can surprise a lot of people,” he added.

Connor Howe of Canmore, Alta., who was making his world championship debut, finished the distance ranked 22nd (1:48.262). The reigning Canadian junior champion will now make his way to Baselga di Pine, Italy for the 2019 ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships, which will take place next weekend on the outdoor Ice Rink Piné.

Thomas Krol of the Netherlands (1:42.582) was crowned world champion, ahead of silver medalist Sverre Lunde Pedersen of Norway (1:43.160) and bronze medalist Denis Yuskov of Russia (1:43.202).

In the ladies 1500m, Maltais was 15th (1:56.903) and Kali Christ of Regina, Sask. was 21st (1:57.796). Dutch skater Ireen Wüst (1:52.814) brought home gold with a new track record, while Miho Takagi of Japan (1:53.323) took silver and Brittany Bowe of the United States (1:53.369) bronze.

For more information on the event, including links to schedules and results, please visit the Speed Skating Canada website. results can be found on the ISU Results Portal.