Canada Kicks Off World Championship with Silver in Ladies’ Team Sprint

Bloemen finishes fifth in men’s 5000m; Weidemann earns seventh-place result in ladies 3000m

INZELL, GERMANY – Canada’s Heather McLean, Kaylin Irvine and Kali Christ kicked off the first day of competition at the 2019 ISU World Single Distance Championships with a silver medal performance in the ladies’ team sprint.

The team overcame a slow start to earn the second spot on the podium. Their time of 1:27.215 was 0.92 seconds behind the gold medalists from the Netherlands (1:26.289) and 0.05 ahead of bronze medalist Russia (1:27.262).

Canada entered the competition ranked fifth in the World Cup standings, having won a bronze medal at the World Cup in Tomakomai, along with a fifth-place finish in Obihiro and sixth-place in Tomaszów Mazowiecki.

“I’m proud of how our team executed the race plan,” said McLean, a native of Winnipeg, Man. “There is plenty of room for improvement, but a world championship podium is an incredible way to get this competition started.”

“Kaylin and Heather made getting up to speed feel very easy so I could just focus on the last lap,” added Christ of Regina, Sask. “Overall, I’m super happy to have been given the chance to race today and stand on the podium with those girls.”

It was the first World Single Distance Championship medal for all three skaters and Canada’s first in the team sprint, a discipline that was making its debut on the world championship stage on Thursday.

Canadians earned a trio of top 10 results in individual distances on the opening day of races in Inzell, Germany.

Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary, Alta. raced to a fifth-place finish in the men’s 5000m on Thursday. The reigning Olympic silver medalist and world record holder posted a time of 6:13.795, which put him 1.26 seconds behind a medal position.

Despite not reaching the podium, Bloemen matched his best world championship result in the distance, having also finished fifth in 2016 and 2017.

“For the last two months we’ve been working extremely hard to show up better than in the first half of the season,” said Bloemen. “It was nice to see that’s paying off! This was a really good effort again and we’re looking forward to keep progressing into next season.”

Norway’s Sverre Lunde Pedersen skated a personal best time of 6:07.167 to win gold, while Dutch skaters Patrick Roest (6:11.700) and eight-time world title holder Sven Kramer (6:12.531) earned silver and bronze, respectively.

Jordan Belchos of Toronto, Ont. put forth an impressive race of his own, posting a time of 6:18.067 to earn a ninth-place finish. Graeme Fish of Moose Jaw, Sask. skated a new personal best of 6:23.379 to finish 14th.

Isabelle Weidemann of Ottawa, Ont. was the top ranked Canadian skater in the ladies 3000m on Thursday, finishing in seventh place (4:03.497). It was the best world championship result of her career in the distance, eclipsing her ninth-place finish from 2017.

Russia’s Martina Sáblíková (3:58.911) captured her fifth 3000m world championship title. She was joined on the podium by Antoinette de Jong (3:59.411) of the Netherlands and Natalia Voronina (3:59.992) of Russia.

Valérie Maltais of Saguenay, Que. finished just outside the top 10 in the very first long track world championship race of her career, coming 12th (4:06.981). It was an impressive result for the three-time short track Olympian who converted to long track less than a year ago.

Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa, Ont., who was paired with Weidemann in the second last grouping, finished the race in 4:07.948 but was later disqualified.

The competition continues Friday with the 500m and team pursuit races. The 1000m, ladies 5000m and men’s 10,000m are set for Saturday, while the 1500m and mass start races will take place on Sunday. A detailed event schedule and live results can be found on the ISU Results Portal.

CBC Sports and Radio-Canada will be live streaming the event on Friday (10:15AM EST), Saturday (7:15AM EST) and Sunday (8:30AM EST). CBC Sports will also televise the races live as part of their Road to the Olympic Games program on Saturday from 12:00PM to 1:00PM EST.

The full list of participating athletes and the distances they will be contesting this weekend is below. A biography of each athlete can be found on the Speed Skating Canada website.

Ladies Team

  • 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

Men’s Team

  • 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