Veteran long track skaters Laurent Dubreuil, Heather McLean and Kaylin Irvine, along with youngster Christopher Fiola, are gearing up for the 2019 ISU World Sprint Championships, which will take place in Heerenveen, Netherlands this weekend.
The competition will see skaters racing one 500m and one 1000m each day. The times for those races are then converted to points and used to rank the skaters and crown a World Sprint Champion.
Dubreuil has competed at the event six times before and earned three top 10 results in the process – sixth in 2017, eighth in 2015 and ninth in 2014. The native of Lévis, Que. is the top ranked Canadian on the World Cup circuit this season in both the 500m (9th) and 1000m (15th) and is coming off a top 15 results in each of those distances two weeks ago at the World Single Distance Championships in Germany.
Joining him on the men’s side will be Montreal’s Fiola, who will be making his first appearance at the event. The 23-year-old posted a pair of third-place results at the national team skate-off in January to earn a spot on the team. He currently sits 27th in the 500m and 45th in the 1000m in the World Cup rankings.
McLean of Winnipeg, Man. will take part in the international event for the fifth time in her career. She has been making great strides as the season progresses, culminating with a 10th and 12th place results at the World Single Distance Championships in the 500m and 1000m, respectively.
Meanwhile, Irvine of Calgary, Alta. will make the trip overseas for the second time, having last participated in 2011. She is currently Canada’s top ranked female sprinter according to the World Cup rankings, sitting 16th in the 500m and 18th in 1000m.
A Canadian hasn’t won a medal at this event since Christine Nesbitt earned silver in 2012. Jeremy Wotherspoon was the last male skater to reach the podium, brining home silver in 2008. As a country, Canada has won 29 medal – 18 on the men’s side and 11 on the ladies’ side – since the event was inaugurated back in 1970.
Full list of athletes that will be competing at the World Sprint Championships.
- IRVINE, Kaylin (Calgary, AB)
- MCLEAN, Heather (Winnipeg, MB)
- DUBREUIL, Laurent (Lévis, QC)
- FIOLA, Christopher (Montreal, QC)