Morrison wins 1000m while Blondin captures mass start bronze in Heerenveen, Netherlands

Denny Morrison’s medal haul continued Friday with a win in a 1000m race at the World Cup Final in Heerenveen, Netherlands. Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa followed with a bronze in a mass start race later the same day. With the win Morrison places second overall for the World Cup season in the 1000m.

Morrison’s winning time was one minute, 08.91 seconds. Shani Davis of the United States was second in 1:09.31 while Kjeld Nuis of the Netherlands picked up the bronze in 1:09.25.

The 28-year-old Fort St. John, B.C., native won a pair of medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia — a silver in th 1000m and bronze in the 1500m — and a silver last weekend in the 1500 at a World Cup in Inzell, Germany. He now has eight gold, 18 silver and 13 bronze in World Cup competition.

Morrison said if feels good to finally win.  “While World Cup medals may be less important than Olympic medals, there is a special feeling you get when you finally win and can declare that you were the best in the competition on that specific day,” he said.

“With that said, Olympic silver by 0.04 seconds was a part of this journey, the slips along the way, missing the podium all season, and injuries before then too. It's the struggles which make finally winning so fulfilling and make me so grateful for the people I have around me who are continually picking me back up and putting me back together,” said Morrison.

Blondin now has three World Cup mass start medals. Her time of 8:37.97 was bettered only by winner Francesa Lollobrigida of Italy (8:36.52) and Irene Scouten of the Netherlands (8:37.45). Blondin stated: “It was a tough race and I had to work hard but in the end the hard work paid off and I ended up on the podium!”

The Ottawa native, who also recently competed at the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, then added: “Absolutely love that race. I really wish they pull through and have the mass start event at the 2018 Olympics.“

Morrison said he always believed the program was making him strong, that he had the best support staff and ultimately that he had what it took to win. “It's the finally winning which solidifies my belief in my team as much as in myself. This one goes out to all of them. They know who they are. They are like family to me. It's been a hell of a ride,” he said.

While part of the team are in Heerenveen, many other skaters are at Calgary’s Olympic Oval for the Olympic Oval Finale and Canada Cup #4, which runs through Sunday.

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