Feature photo: Ivanie Blondin wins second place overall in mass start for 2015/16 season.
Two Canadians struck overall World Cup top three positions in their respective distances, while Ivanie Blondin won Canada’s last race accolades of the ISU long track speed skating season.
The mass start world champion, Blondin, skated to silver in her marquee event in Heerenveen, Netherlands on Sunday, behind Irene Schouten of the Netherlands. That result gave Blondin enough points to secure second place in the overall World Cup standings behind her Dutch rival Schouten.
In sprints, Gilmore Junio continued to have one of the best weekends of his career. After getting on the podium at the first 500-metre final in Heerenveen on Friday (more on this below), Junio was again the top Canadian in fifth place in the second World Cup race over that distance.
That outcome gave Junio enough points to finish third overall in the World Cup 500m standings, slotted behind Russia’s Pavel Kulizhnikov and Ruslan Murashov.
Canada won a total of four medals in Heerenveen to close out the long track World Cup season.
Saturday, March 12
Canada won two medals at the final ISU long track speed skating World Cup event of the season on Saturday.
The new hardware courtesy of Heather McLean (bronze – women’s 500 metres) and a men’s team sprint silver comes a day after Gilmore Junio got on the podium in the first of two men’s 500-metre finals (more on this below).
RELATED: McLean takes bronze in Norway
McLean’s medal was won in 38.07 seconds, behind Americans Brittany Bowe (37.64s) and Heather Richardson-Bergsma (37.88s). Bowe was the 2015 world champion in the 1000m and 1500m on the same Heerenveen track.
It was an agonizing silver medal finish for Canada in men’s team sprint. The squad of Junio, Alexandre St-Jean and Vincent De Haitre were one hundredth of a second behind the winners, Netherlands, which won gold in one minute, 20.40. Russia was third.
The sprint team, which often included William Dutton, finished third overall in World Cup standings.
Competition continues through Sunday.
Friday, March 11
At the final ISU long track speed skating World Cup of the season, Gilmore Junio secured bronze in the first of two 500-metre finals slated for the weekend in Heerenveen, Netherlands.
The Canadian got on the podium for the third time this season, this time brushing off the pressure of being part of the final pairing with a teammate to cross the finish line at a time of 35.123 seconds.
Ruslan Murashov of Russia was the winner with a time of 34.96 and Ronald Mulder gave the Netherlands a silver medal in 35.05s.
Junio went up against fellow Canadian Alex Boisvert-Lacroix, who was second in overall World Cup points in the 500m heading into the final weekend. With his latest 500m World Cup medal Junio moved up to third overall in the season, while Boisvert-Lacroix dropped to fourth with one more race to come.
The competition continues in Heerenveen through Sunday, March 13.