McLean in 9th Place After First Day of World Sprint Championships

Dubreuil and Irvine both ranked in the top 15 after opening day in Heerenveen

HEERENVEEN, NETHERLANDS – Canada’s Heather McLean is ranked in the top 10 after the first day of races at the 2019 ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Championships in Heerenveen, Netherlands.

McLean was the top Canadian on the ladies’ side on Saturday, earning an 11th place result (38.10) in the 500m and 12th place finish (1:16.23) in the 1000m. The Winnipeg native finished the day ranked ninth (76.215) in the overall standings, +1.44 seconds behind the leader.

“The race environment for the world championships here is great,” said McLean, who is coming off a 10th place finish in the 500m at the World Single Distance Championships a few weeks ago. “The crowd has a ton of energy and it’s making this competition fun.”

“As far as the races go I’m becoming more consistent with the opener in the 500m but the 1000m is what I am most proud of right now. It’s always been a challenging distance for me and it’s really coming along the second half of this season. Looking forward to two more races tomorrow!”

Teammate Kaylin Irvine of Calgary, Alta. finished only a few spots behind McLean in both distances, coming 13th (38.38) in the 500m and 16th in the 1000m (1:16.92). She sits 15th overall (76.840), +2.07 seconds back of top spot.

Japan’s Nao Kodaira (37.27) claimed gold in the 500m, ahead of Vanessa Herzog of Austria (37.31) and Angelina Golikova of Russia (37.49). In the 1000m, American Brittany Bowe (1:14.60) was first overall, followed by Japan’s Miho Takagi (1:14.82) and Russia’s Daria Kachanova (1:14.94).

After the first day of competition, the ladies’ top 5 includes Kodaira (74.775), Takagi (+0.26), Bowe (+0.42), Herzog (+0.43) and Kachanova (+0.70).

Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, Que. reached the top 10 in the men’s 500m, finishing 10th with a time of 35.05. He also earned a 13th place (1:09.75) result in the 1000m, helping him finish the day ranked 13th (69.925) in the overall standings, +1.16 seconds behind the leader.

“It was a tough day,” said Dubreuil. “I thought I skated pretty well, but I didn't have as much explosiveness as I had hoped. I think I can improve on my 13th place in tomorrow's races!”

Christopher Fiola of Montreal, Que. was 17th (35.31) in the 500m and 20th (1:10.47) in the 1000m. The 22-year-old currently sits 19th overall (+1.78).

The men’s 500m podium included Tatsuya Shinhama of Japan (34.66), Kai Verbij of the Netherlands (34.72), and world record holder Pavel Kulizhnikov of Russia (34.74). Kulizhnikov (1:08.06) also earned bronze in the 1000m, behind silver medalist Masaya Yamada of Japan (1:08.03) and gold medalist Kjeld Nuis of the Netherlands (1:07.86).

Kulizhnikov (68.770) is ranked first overall after opening day of the competition, ahead of Norway’s Håvard Holmefjord Lorentzen (+0.07), Nuis (+0.14), Shinhama (+0.18) and Yamada (+0.32).

The competition concludes Sunday with another 500m and 1000m race. The times for those races will be added to today’s results to crown a World Sprint Champion.

CBC Sports and Radio-Canada will be live streaming the event beginning at 9:00AM EST. A detailed event schedule and live results can be found on the ISU Results Portal.

Please see below the full list of athletes that will be competing at the World Sprint Championships. A biography of each athlete can be found on the Speed Skating Canada website.

Ladies Team

  • IRVINE, Kaylin (Calgary, AB)
  • MCLEAN, Heather (Winnipeg, MB)

Men’s Team

  • DUBREUIL, Laurent (Lévis, QC)
  • FIOLA, Christopher (Montreal, QC)