A total of seventeen Canadian long track skaters will battle for a spot on the podium at this weekend’s 2019 ISU World Single Distance Championships in Inzell, Germany. The competition runs from February 7-10 at the Max Aicher Arena.
This competition marks the start of World Championship season and will be followed by the World Sprint Championships in Heerrenveen, Netherlands (February 23-24) and World Allround Championships in Calgary, Alberta (March 2-3). Our Canadians skaters will look to build upon a successful season on the World Cup circuit, where they claimed ten medals – one gold, three silver and six bronze.
Canada’s contingent will feature four previous World Single Distance medalists in Ivanie Blondin (3), Ted-Jan Bloemen (3), Jordan Belchos (2) and Laurent Dubreuil (1). They will be joined by a well-rounded crop of World Championship rookies that includes recent short track convert Valérie Maltais, reigning Canadian junior champion Connor Howe, and up-and-coming long-distance specialist Graeme Fish.
On the women’s side, Blondin of Ottawa, Ont. will compete in a team leading five events (1500m, 3000m, 5000m, Mass Start, Team Pursuit) and should be considered one of the favourites in the mass start, an event that she has medalled in twice before – in 2015 and 2016.
Isabelle Weidemann of Ottawa, Ont., winner of three individual World Cup medals so far this season, will look to find her way back onto the podium, while Valérie Maltais of Saguenay, Que. will be aiming to finish her first-ever long track season with her best performances of the year.
On the men’s side, Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, Que. is coming off a pair of top 10 finishes in the 500m at last weekend’s World Cup in Hamar. The Quebecois sprinter, who won bronze in the 500m in 2015, is ranked ninth in the distance and looks to be on the brink of a breakout performance.
In the long-distance races, Graeme Fish of Moose Jaw, Sask., who is coming off a Division B medal and personal best in the 5000m, will skate in both the 5000m and 10,000m. He will be joined by veteran skaters Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary, Alta. and Jordan Belchos of Toronto, Ont., who look to be peaking at the right time.
The competition gets underway Thursday with the ladies 3000m, men’s 5000m and team sprint events. The 500m and team pursuit races will take place Friday; the 1000m, ladies 5000m and men’s 10,000m are set for Saturday; and the weekend concludes with the 1500m and mass start races on Sunday.
- BLONDIN, Ivanie (Ottawa, ON) – 1500m, 3000m, 5000m, Mass Start, Team Pursuit
- CHRIST, Kali (Regina, SK) – 1000m (R), 1500m (R), Team Pursuit (S), Team Sprint
- HUDEY, Marsha (White City, SK) – 500m, Team Sprint (S)
- IRVINE, Kaylin (Calgary, AB) – 500m, 1000m (R), Team Sprint
- MALTAIS, Valérie (Saguenay, QC) – 1500m, 3000m, 5000m (S), Mass Start, Team Pursuit
- MCLEAN, Heather (Winnipeg, MB) – 500m, 1000m, Team Sprint
- WEIDEMANN, Isabelle (Ottawa, ON) – 1500m (S), 3000m, 5000m, Mass Start (S), Team Pursuit
- BELCHOS, Jordan (Toronto, ON) – 5000m, 10,000 (R), Team Pursuit
- BLOEMEN, Ted-Jan (Calgary, AB) – 5000m, 10,000 (S), Team Pursuit
- DUBREUIL, Laurent (Lévis, QC) – 500m, 1000m
- FIOLA, Christopher (Montreal, QC) – 500m
- FISH, Graeme (Moose Jaw, SK) – 5000m, 10,000m
- HOWE, Connor (Canmore, AB) – 1000m (S), 1500m
- GÉLINAS-BEAULIEU, Antoine (Sherbrooke, QC) – 1000m, 1500m, Team Pursuit
- JUNIO, Gilmore (Calgary, AB) – 500m
- LANGELAAR, Tyson (Winnipeg, MB) – 1500m (R), Mass Start (S), Team Pursuit (S)
- NEUFELD, Jess (Winnipeg, MB) – Mass Start
* (R) Reserve: a spot that could become available in the distance should another country not accept their spot
* (S) Substitution: an athlete that could fill a spot should there be an injury to someone else on the team