This article was originally published on the Speed Skating Canada website.
Ivanie Blondin and Laurent Dubreuil both repeated the success they had during the 2014-15 World Cup season, Sunday in Heerenveen, Netherlands, as they both skated to a podium finish on the final day of the 2015 ISU Long Track Speed Skating World Single Distance Championships.
Blondin (Ottawa, ON) won the silver medal in the women's mass start, Sunday, to add on to the five medals (two gold, two silver and a bronze) she has already won in that discipline this World Cup season.
Dubreuil (Lévis, QC), for his part, won bronze in the men's 500m, after collecting one silver and three bronze in that distance earlier this winter.
Blondin, 24, and Dubreuil, 22, have both proven to be up-and-coming stars this season on the World Cup circuit, coming up with repeated success for the first time in their young careers at the senior level. They were able to confirm that, Sunday, in a context that is very different from the World Cups.
“It's the same skaters, and we even skated this week on the same ice as last week in the World Cup, but it's true that the World Championships remain a very different animal,” said Dubreuil. “Everybody goes faster than at the World Cup. No doubt, everybody gears up for the Worlds. In my case, I push as hard as I can in all my races, and yet, I also went faster that I usually do!
“There's a lot of excitement and adrenaline in a competition like this one,” added the skater from Lévis, QC. “But I was able to manage my emotions, to channel my strength and technique in the right way on the ice, and it led to the result I was hoping for.”
Dubreuil, the 2012 World Junior Champion in the 500m, became the first Canadian skater to reach the podium in the men's 500m at the World Single Distance Championshps since Jeremy Wotherspoon won gold in 2008 in Nagano, Japan.
Sunday, he skated to a cumulative time of 69.694 seconds after the competition's two legs, to finish behind gold-medal winner Pavel Kulizhnikov (68.931), from Russia, and Dutch skater Michel Mulder (69.622). Dubreuil had the sixth-best time (34.971) in the first leg, but came up with the second-best time (34.723) in the second leg. He recorded races under 35 seconds for the first time this season.
“The first race wasn't bad, it was actually pretty good, but I was still on the outside looking in at that point,” said Dubreuil. ”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!”
Blondin raced to a time of 8:38.38 in the mass start, finishing 0.15 seconds away from the winner, Dutch skater Irene Schouten (8:38.23). Mariska Huisman, also of the Netherlands, earned bronze in 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, ” said Blondin. “I'm ecstatic with the result, which follows a fantastic season!”
The four medals tallied by the Canadian team over the week of competition equal the totals obtained at the 2011 and 2012 World Single Distance Championships. Christine Nesbitt won Canada's only medal at the last competition, in 2013 in Sochi.
Denny Morrison (Fort St. John, B.C.) was involved in the first two medals won earlier this week, coming up with silver in the men's 1500, and another silver in the men's team pursuit, along with Ted-Jan Bloemen (Calgary, AB) and Jordan Belchos (Markham, ON), Friday. Morrison tied Jeremy Wotherspoon and Kristina Groves for most decorated Canadian athlete ever at the World Single Distance Championships, with nine career individual medals.
Canada has now won a total of 72 medals, including 21 gold, 22 silver and 29 bronze, since the first edition of the World Single Distance Championships in 1996.
Season best for Kali Christ
Gilmore Junio (Calgary, AB) was eighth in the men's 500m, 1.216 seconds behind the winner after two legs, while Kali Christ (Regina, SK) was 19th in 8:43.19 in the women's mass start.
Christ also raced in the women's 1500m and finished eighth, coming up with a time of 1:57.82, her best this season at the international level. Josie Spence (Kamloops, B.C.), was 23rd in 2:03.11.
TODAY'S CANADIAN RESULTS:
BRONZE: Laurent Dubreuil (34.971 + 34.723)
8. Gilmore Junio (35.162 + 34.986)
8. Kali Christ (1:57.82)
23. Josie Spence (2:03.11)
Mass Start M
7. Tyler Derraugh (7:46.71)
17. Robert Watson (7:36.66)
Mass Start W
SILVER: Ivanie Blondin (40 points – 8 :38.38)
19. Kali Christ (8:43.19)
More information, including detailed schedule, can be found on Speed Skating Canada’s website:www.speedskating.ca.