A gold medal performance by Ivanie Blondin capped off Speed Skating Canada’s four medal weekend at the ISU Long Track World Cup in Kazakhstan.
The defending world champion won her second World Cup mass start race of the season, after winning the season’s opener in Harbin, China. After missing the podium with 5000m, Blondin had her mind on the podium heading into her final event.
“Things were sketchy at the end, but I was able to defend my spot well, I was aggressive, I did what I had to do to win today’s race,” said Blondin to Speed Skating Canada.
The Canadian out sprinted Japan’s Nana Takagi who finished second and Korean Bo-Reum Kim who took third. Blondin’s recent victory gives three world cup medals this season and a comfortable lead in the World Cup stands with 280 points.
Vincent De Haître won the nation’s first gold medal in Kazakhstan, before a sweet silver for men’s team pursuit ended day two of compeition.
The Sochi 2014 Olympian made his first-ever individual World Cup medal golden, winning the 1000m in one minute 8.96 seconds. The silver went to Russia’s Pavel Kulizhnikov (1:08.98s), Japan’s Takuro Oda completed the podium after he finished with a time of 1:09.06s.
“It’s still sinking in,” said Vincent de Haître. “I’m super happy about it! I was thinking about all the stuff I’ve been working on all week, and I tried to apply it as much as I could. During the last lap, I got a little bit nervous. There is still room for improvement, but I’m still incredibly happy about it!” Said De Haître to Speed Skating Canada.
Ted-Jan Bloemen, Jordan Belchos and Denny Morrison also picked up World Cup hardware on Saturday, finishing second in men’s team pursuit. The silver medal was especially sweet for Morrison, who celebrated his first podium appearance since his motorcycle accident in 2015 and the stroke he suffered last April.
“Three World Cups and a podium; this is unbelievable considering not just my injuries, but also the set backs and necessary steps to get here. They are all big steps and all surprising to me.” Said Denny Morrison.
The Canadians’ time of 3:44.95s, put them just behind the Japanese leaders who won in 3:44.10s. The bronze medal went to Poland’s trio who crossed the finish line in 3:45.04s.
Ted-Jan Bloemen met his first ISU Long Track World Cup podium of the season, after he finished third in the 5000m with a time of six minutes 22.82 seconds to take bronze. Peter Michael of New Zealand secured second in 6:21.58, and the top spot on the podium went to Germany’s Patrick Beckert, who won the competition in 6:22.09.
Although this was Bloemen’s first medal of the season, the world record holder in the 10,000m event was less than thrilled about his performance. “I’m quite disappointed because I didn’t execute my race well. There are lots of things I didn’t do well.” Bloemen confessed to Speed Skating Canada after his race.
However, with more than two months until the World Sprint Speed Skating Championships comes to Calgary, Bloemen has plenty of time to find his rhythm and work his was back onto the top of the podium. Until then fans can enjoy a full weekend of long track speed skating, as the competition in Kazakhstan continues through Sunday.