Isabelle Weidemann & Connor Howe Canada’s Top Performers on Final Day of World Championships

Weidemann finishes just off the 5000m podium in fourth; Howe earns career-best seventh in 1500m

HEERENVEEN, NETHERLANDS – Isabelle Weidemann and Connor Howe were Canada’s top performers on the final day of competition at the ISU World Speed Skating Championships in Heerenveen, the Netherlands.

Ottawa’s Weidemann was the top ranked Canadian on Sunday, finishing fourth overall in the first and only women’s 5000m race of the season. The 25-year old long distance specialist clocked in at 6:56.181, which helped her equal her career-best in the distance, a feat she also accomplished in 2019. Teammate Valérie Maltais of Saguenay, Que., also broke into the top-10, racing to a career-best seventh-place result in 7:05.830.

Irene Schouten of the Netherlands was crowned world champion thanks to a personal best time of 6:48.537. She was joined on the podium by Natalia Voronina of Russia (+2.46) and Dutch countrymate Carlijn Achtereekte (+3.68).

Canmore’s Connor Howe put forth his best performance of the season to earn a career-high sixth place finish in the men’s 1500m. The 20-year old completed the distances in 1:45.860, only 0.36 seconds off the bronze medal pace set by Patrick Roest of the Netherlands. Kjeld Nuis and Thomas Krol completed a Dutch sweep of the podium.

Howe’s ranking was the highest for a Canadian in the men’s 1500m since Vincent De Haître finished fourth overall in 2017.

In the men’s 10,000m, Sweden’s Nils van der Poel set a new world record of 12:32.949, eclipsing the time of 12:33.86 established by Canada’s Graeme Fish at last season’s World Championships in Salt Lake City. Reigning Olympic champion and former world record holder from 2015 to 2020 Ted-Jan Bloemen (Calgary, Alta.) was the fastest Canadian on Sunday, finishing sixth with a time of 13:08.252. Toronto’s Jordan Belchos was two spots behind him in eighth (13:11.082).

Maltais (1:57.417) and Quebec City’s Béatrice Lamarche (1:58.995) posted their fastest times of the season in the women’s 1500m, helping them earn career-best rankings of 13th and 16th overall, respectively. Teammate Abigail McCluskey (Penticton, B.C.) finished in 21st position (2:01.255).

Canada concludes the World Championships with five medals, including a historic world championship title for Laurent Dubreuil in the men’s 500m. The team also earned eleven World Cup medals during the condensed international season.

Results

  • Isabelle Weidemann (Ottawa, Ont.): 4th in 5000m
  • Connor Howe (Canmore, Alta.): 6th in 1500m
  • Ted-Jan Bloemen (Calgary, Alta.): 6th in 10,000m
  • Valérie Maltais (Saguenay, Que.): 7th in 5000m, 13th in 1500m
  • Jordan Belchos (Toronto, Ont.): 8th in 10,000m
  • Béatrice Lamarche (Quebec City, Que.): 16th in 1500m
  • Abigail McCluskey (Penticton, B.C.): 21st in 1500m

Quotes

  • "I’m happy with how hard I skated today. It obviously wasn’t the result I was hoping for, but there were a lot of positives from the race. Not a single lap came easy today, but sometimes it doesn’t in speed skating. I’ve learned so much competing this weekend, and I’m excited to re-assess and start the Olympic year!" - Isabelle Weidemann
  • “My plan was to be aggressive from the start and hold on to some good speed into the second lap, and I accomplished that. I could not have gone much faster; I was pretty tired in the last lap. I am really happy with sixth place and it gives me motivation for next year." – Connor Howe 
  • “This morning, I wasn’t sure if my health was going to be good enough following my crash in yesterday’s Mass Start, but I’m very happy with how my races went today. I have to work on my 1500m opener, something I wasn’t able to do this season. And in the 5000m, I just tried to stick with Irene [Schouten] for as long as I could and it ended up being a good race." – Valérie Maltais 

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