Photo: Denny Morrison
Photo: Denny Morrison

Canadian speed skaters test out the Gangneung Oval

Canada’s long track speed skaters have been showing just how excited they are to be in South Korea this week, getting set to compete at the Gangneung Oval, just one year prior to PyeongChang 2018.

These athletes are eager to test out the Olympic venue for the first time at the 2017 ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships, which begin on February 9, marking the one year countdown to the next Olympic Winter Games.

Here are a few of their first impressions:

Ivanie Blondin

And hopefully it’ll still be standing watching over the mass start world champion in February 2018.

Denny Morrison

The four-time Olympic medallist is well into his recovery from a stroke last spring and is looking right at home in South Korea, where he will compete in the team pursuit.

Heather McLean

A selfie in the Olympic venue with your teammate is always a good idea. Heather McLean and Marsha Hudey can’t contain their happiness to finally be inside the Gangneung Oval.

Kaylin Irvine

And if a teammate isn’t available, it’s okay to take selfies with the competition (Team USA’s Sugar Todd) when you are so excited to skate at the next Olympic venue.

Brianne Tutt

It’s a great day when you get to be some of the first skaters ever to skate on the Olympic ice!

Vincent De Haître

A beach beside the Oval? Write a note to self: pack that swimsuit next year!

William Dutton

We wouldn’t mind a follow-up picture in a year!

The World Single Distances Championships include all of the events on the Olympic program. Last year, Canada won four medals, highlighted by Blondin’s victory in the mass start. Ted-Jan Bloemen won silver in the 10,000m for Canada’s first ever world championship medal in the distance and was part of the team pursuit bronze with Jordan Belchos and Ben Donnelly. Alex Boisvert-Lacroix added a bronze in the 500m.

Canada’s team at the World Single Distances Championships:


Ivanie Blondin – 1500m, 3000m, 5000m, Mass Start
Marsha Hudey – 500m
Kaylin Irvine – 500m, 1000m
Heather McLean – 500m, 1000m
Brianne Tutt – 1500m
Isabelle Weidemann – 3000m, 5000m


Jordan Belchos – 5000m, 10,000m, Mass Start
Ted-Jan Bloemen – 5000m, 10,000m
Alex Boisvert-Lacroix – 500m
Vincent De Haître – 1000m, 1500m
Ben Donnelly – 1500m
Laurent Dubreuil – 500m, 1000m
William Dutton – 500m
Olivier Jean – Mass Start
Denny Morrison – Team Pursuit
Alexandre St-Jean – 1000m