It’s been a long time coming for Ted-Jan Bloemen. The 10,000m Olympic Champion from 2018 had yet to stand on top of the podium at an international competition since the Games. He announced his return to form at the ISU World Single Distance Championships in Salt Lake City on Thursday, capturing the gold medal in the men’s 5000m. His teammate Graeme Fish also found the podium with bronze, his first career World Championships medal.
Bloemen, a native of the Netherlands who moved to Calgary in 2014, skated a time of 6:04.375, a mere two and a half seconds off the world record pace that he set in Salt Lake City over two years ago.
Dutch skater Patrick Roest, who has dominated the long distance events on the international circuit this year, was matched with Fish in the next pair, but did not have the stamina to put up a top-3 time. Fish (Moose Jaw, Sask.) caught Roest in the final laps, crossing the line in 6:06.328, a four-second personal best. Sven Kramer of the Netherlands took silver.
Canada’s Jordan Belchos (Toronto, Ont.) also finished in the top five with a personal best time of 6:12.071.
Earlier in the day, the Canadian ladies took to the ice for the 3000m. Despite being ranked second and third in the long distance World Cup rankings this season, Ottawa natives Ivanie Blondin and Isabelle Weidemann finished off the podium, in sixth and tenth place respectively. Valérie Maltais (Saguenay, Que.) rounded out the trio with a 12th place finish.
The men’s Team Sprint, consisting of Gilmore Junio (Calgary, Alta.), Laurent Dubreuil (Lévis, Que.) and Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu (Sherbrooke, Que.), skated a blistering pace of 1:17.68 to put up the fastest time of the afternoon. Unfortunately, they were disqualified for an early exchange, leaving the podium to the teams from the Netherlands, China and Norway.
The ISU World Single Distance Championships continues on Friday with the men’s 10,000m, ladies Team Pursuit and men’s and ladies 500m. Races will be streamed live on CBC Sports beginning at 4:00 pm ET.
“It feels amazing to be World Champion, especially after two years of struggling to compete with the best in the world. Going into this competition, I felt like I could win again. To be back in the mix at the right time, at the World Championships, is really cool. I’ve had a great team, great training partners and my coaches have been relentless in getting me back on track and keeping my eyes forward. We did this together.”
– Graeme Fish