Ivanie Blondin, Ted-Jan Bloemen win long distance events at the Canadian Single Distance Long Track Speed Skating Championships

Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa and Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary won the long distance races, Saturday, at the Canadian single distance long track speed skating championships at Calgary's Olympic Oval.

Blondin took gold in the women’s 3,000m race, while Bloemen won the men’s 5,000m.

Bloemen finished in six minutes, 25.94 seconds. Jordan Belchos of Markham, Ont., won the silver in 6:32.41 and Stefan Waples of Winnipeg, the bronze in 6:34.08.

Blondin’s winning time was 4:06.89. Kali Christ of Regina picked up women’s silver in 4:09.20 and Nicole Garrido of Edmonton won the bronze in 4:09.90.

“I'm really happy with the result,” said Blondin, who won five medals during the fall World Cup season — two gold, a silver and a bronze in mass start, as well as a bronze in the 5000m. “I would say I’m a lot more tired today than I was after my races at the beginning of the season, when I collected all those medals for my country, but I think today I’ve proven that I’m the strongest skater in Canada in the longest distances.”

Blondin opened this weekend's national single distance championships by setting a personal best in Friday's 1500m, which was good for a silver behind Christ. Christ then set a personal best in the 3000m, Saturday, good for a silver behind Blondin.

Blondin and Christ are preparing to resume the World Cup season, with the next weekend of competition set for Jan. 31-Feb. 1 in Hamar, Norway.

“The next part of the season is coming up pretty fast, and hopefully I'll be able to recreate what I started at the beginning of the season,” said Blondin.

Saturday’s race on the men's side was Bloemen’s second 5000m in Canada since he moved from the Netherlands in the summer. At the fall World Cup trials in October, he came within 1.75 seconds of breaking the Canadian 5000m record with a 6:15.75 skate, but he couldn’t find that same form on Saturday.

“It was tough today,” he said. “It didn’t feel like it was a good race. I was struggling to hold on to my position. It was more fighting than good technical skating.”

Bloemen was happy, however, with how he toughed it out at the end of the 12-and-a-half-lap contest.

“I did keep it together. It was a good finish and a decent race, and I’m happy with the mental toughness I showed,” he said.

In Saturday's Canada Cup #2 races, held in conjunction with the Canadian single distance championships, Noémie Fiset of Quebec City won the women’s 3000m. Béatrice Lamarche, also of Quebec City, took the silver and Adeline Maunder of St. Albert, Alta., the bronze.

Winnipeg’s Sam Deckert won the men’s 5000m. Christopher Fiola of Montreal was second and Connor McConvey of Innisfil, Ont., third.

Races in both competitions will continue Sunday with the 500m and 1000m events. Canada Cup #2 starts at 9 a.m., local time, and the Canadian single distance championships at 1:20 p.m. Competition will end on Monday.

The 47 skaters taking part in the Canadian Single Distance Championships this weekend are looking for spots in the two winter World Cups, Jan. 31-Feb. 1 in Hamar, Norway, and Feb. 7-8 in Heerenveen, Netherlands, World Single Distance Championships Feb. 12-15 in Heerenveen, World Sprint Championships Feb. 28-March 1 in Astana, Kazakhstan, and World All Round Championships March 7-8 in Calgary. The skaters taking part in the Canada Cup #2 competition will look to improve their Canadian ranking.
For the two winter World Cups, skaters with top six placing in 2014-15 World Cup rankings, for a maximum of two per distance, have already qualified. Following the first four World Cups this season, Laurent Dubreuil (second in the 500m overall ranking), Morrison (sixth in the 1500m) and Blondin (first in the mass start and fourth in the 3000m) have already pre-qualified for the two Winter World Cups.
More information, including full schedule and a link to the results, can be found on Speed Skating Canada’s website: www.speedskating.ca.
About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for competitive long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, the association is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial branches representing more than 13,000 individual members, and counting. SSC believes that sport is an apprenticeship for life and prizes respect for others, integrity, excellence of effort, as well as a safe, healthy environment. SSC recognizes and values its outstanding volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise. It also celebrates the 63 Olympic medals won by Canadian athletes since 1932, as well as the coaches, officials and other dedicated individuals who helped them on their journey.

SSC is proud to be affiliated with partners that share the same vision and values including our premium sponsor Intact Insurance, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.

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For information:
Jeff MacKinnon   
Coordinator, Media and Communications Services – long track
Speed Skating Canada
Email: jmackinnon@speedskating.ca
Phone: 403-860-9525
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
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Patrick Godbout
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca
Phone: 514 213-9897
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC