Canada won a bronze medal in the ladies’ team pursuit on the opening day of the ISU World Cup Speed Skating #3 in Tomaszow Mazowiecki, Poland. It was the second podium finish of the season in that event for Ivanie Blondin and Isabelle Weidemann of Ottawa, Ont. and Keri Morrison of Burlington, Ont., who brought home silver from the last World Cup stage in Tomakomai, Japan.
The team skated in the final pairing of the day and was able to squeeze its way into bronze medal position by finishing the race in 3:05.700, a time that was 1.32 seconds faster than the fourth-place finishers from the Netherlands. Russia and Japan rounded out the podium, with the Japanese team claiming their third consecutive gold of the season.
“Today was a real fight, but it just shows how strong our team is by coming out with a medal after a hard-fought race,” said Morrison following the race.
“I’m really proud of this team,” stated Weidemann. “We’ve come a long way since last year. We still have a lot to work on, but I’m really excited with our results so far this year and what’s to come in the future.”
Canada now sits in third place in the World Cup rankings for the ladies team pursuit thanks to their two medals and fourth-place finish from the season opener in Obihiro. Their 290 total points puts them behind Russia (300) and Japan (360).
“I’m really happy with today’s race and also really happy with the third-place overall,” added Blondin. “I think it just shows the consistency in our team. Today was a bit of a struggle, but we kept it together. When you work together as a team you can accomplish great things.”
Meanwhile, the men’s team pursuit squad – consisting of Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary, Alta., Jordan Belchos of Toronto, Ont. and Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu of Sherbrooke, Que. – finished just off the podium in fourth place. Their time of 3:49.610 was just 1.79 seconds behind third-place Russia, with Norway and Japan also earning medals in the race.
Ten Canadian skaters also competed in individual races on Friday, garnering mixed results.
Gélinas-Beaulieu earned a top-10 finish in the men’s 1000m, posting a time of 1:11.142 which was good for ninth. Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, Que. finished 15th (1:11.529) in the same distance, while David La Rue of Saint-Lambert, Que. and Christopher Fiola of Montreal, Que. came in 8th (1:11.363) and 18th (1:12.002) on the Division B side.
Dubreuil was 12th (35.344) in the men’s 500m(1), while teammate Alex Boisvert-Lacroix of Sherbrooke, Que., who was skating in his first World Cup race of the season, placed 19th (35.813). In Division B, Gilmore Junio of Calgary, Alta. placed sixth (35.564), Fiola was 22nd (36.215) and La Rue was 26th (36.369).
Heather McLean of Winnipeg, Man. and Marsha Hudey of White City, Sask. finished the ladies 500m(1) in 11th place (39.007) and 19th place (39.191), respectively. Kaylin Irvine of Calgary, Alta. was sixth in the Division B group with a time of 39.502. And in the ladies’ 1000m, McLean came in 17th (1:18.623) and Irvine in 19th (1:18.905), while Blondin earned a seventh-place (1:18.554) finish in the Division B grouping.
The competition continues Saturday with the 500m(2) and 1500m finals, while those for the ladies 5000m, men’s 10,000m and team sprint are set for Sunday.