Canada’s speed skating squad closed out the 2015 World Single Distances Championships in Heerenveen with two more podium finishes on Sunday.
Ivanie Blondin‘s stellar season continued in the Netherlands as the Ottawa native took silver in the women’s mass start, adding to her already impressive 2014-2015 World Cup collection in the event (two gold, two silver and a bronze). Blondin’s time of 8:38.38 was only 0.15 seconds short of gold medal winner Irene Schouten. Fellow Dutch Mariska Huisman finished third with 8:38.70.
“I would have preferred the gold medal, but finishing first at this stage of my career remains a big accomplishment for me, so I’m still super pumped with second place, ” shared Blondin, 24, in a Speed Skating Canada release.
In the men’s 500m, Laurent Dubreuil put up a combined time of 69.694 seconds after two races, earning him a hard fought bronze medal.
“The first race wasn’t bad, it was actually pretty good, but I was still on the outside looking in at that point,” said the 22-year-old speed skater from Lévis, Quebec.” I knew I needed to have a perfect race to even have a chance of being on the podium, which was my goal. But somehow, knowing that made it easier to perform. I realized that the way to reach the level I wanted was just to let myself have fun, skate and don’t overthink anything. That’s what I did! When I saw my time, I was happy. Even in my wildest dreams, I never thought I had that in me!”
Finishing ahead of Dubreuil was Russia’s Pavel Kulizhnikov (68.931) and Michel Mulder (69.622) of the Netherlands.
Sunday’s results doubled Canada’s medal count to four with Denny Morrison and the men’s relay team both landing on the podium on Friday.
Friday – Double silver day for Canadian speed skaters at world championships
First up for Morrison at the ISU World Single Distances Championships in Heerenveen, Netherlands was the 1500m, in which he is the reigning Olympic bronze medallist and a two-time world champion. Morrison’s time of 1:45.08 gave him the silver by just 0.07 of a second over host country boy Koen Verweij. The gold medal went to Russian Denis Yuskov who was more than a second and a half faster than Morrison.
About two hours later, Morrison was back on the ice for the team pursuit along with Ted-Jan Bloemen and Jordan Belchos. The Canadian trio’s time of 3:44.09 was second-best to the powerhouse Dutch, who were racing in front of exuberant fans at the famed Thialf arena. This is the first medal that Bloemen has won for Canada since switching allegiances from his native Netherlands this season. Bloemen is a dual citizen thanks to his New Brunswick-born father.
Morrison will go for the podium again on Saturday in the 1000m. The competition concludes on Sunday with the ladies’ mass start, an event in which Ivanie Blondin has won five World Cup medals this season including two gold. CBC will be airing highlights from the world championships on Sunday afternoon.