Laurent Dubreuil and Men’s Team Pursuit race to silver medals in Heereveen
HEERENVEEN, NETHERLANDS – After four seasons of competing together, the women’s Team Pursuit squad of Isabelle Weidemann, Ivanie Blondin and Valérie Maltais finally captured their elusive World Championship title on Friday in Heereveen, albeit in bittersweet fashion.
The Canadians crossed the line in 2:54.58, the second fastest time of the day, but were elevated into gold medal position after officials disqualified the Dutch team of Joy Beune, Irene Schouten, Marijke Groenewoud. The hometown favourites were penalized for having bare skin showing during the race, which is not allowed as it poses a safety concern for the skaters.
Japan (+2.72) and the United States (+5.81) rounded out the podium after the disqualification.
The World Championship win was Canada’s fourth ever, having also won the ultimate prize in 2011, 2009 and 2007. It helped reigning Olympic champions Weidemann, Blondin and Maltais claim the only title they were missing. Since the start of the 2020-21 campaign, the trio has won eight consecutive World Cup gold medals, four consecutive World Cup titles, as well as silver (2021) and bronze (2020) at the World Championships.
The men’s trio of Connor Howe (Canmore, Alta.), Hayden Mayeur (Toronto, Ont.) and Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu (Sherbrooke, Que.) also reached the Team Pursuit podium on Friday, brining home the silver medal.
The Canadians clocked in at 3:38.43 and occupied the top spot until the final pairing, where a tremendous skate from the host Netherlands (3:38.26) knocked them down to second place, 0.17 seconds short of gold. Norway (+2.67) finished in bronze medal position.
It marks Canada’s fifth World Championship silver medal in the discipline, having also finished second in 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2021. The Dutch have won 13 of 14 world titles in the discipline, with their only lose coming at the hands of the Americans in 2011.
Meanwhile, in individual distances, Canada’s Laurent Dubreuil looked poised to win his second consecutive world title in the men’s 500m, but a magnificent performance from 18-year-old American rookie Jordan Stolz had him settling for silver.
Dubreuil, who sprinted to five World Cup medals this season, posted a time of 34.46 in the second last pairing, which placed him atop the leaderboard. A laser focused Stolz followed un Dubreuil’s performance with a skate for the ages, crossing the line in 34.10 – just 0.03 seconds shy of a sea-level world record – to steal the gold medal from the Canadian. Japan’s Wataru Morishige (34.48) finished in bronze medal positon.
Stolz, who was crowned World Junior Champion only a few months ago, becomes the youngest speed skater ever to win a World Championships title. For his part, Dubreuil adds World Championship silver to the gold he won in 2021 and the bronze he brough home in 2015.
The day concluded with an impressive World Championship debut from Prince Geroge’s Carolina Hiller. Her time of 38.24 placed her 12th overall in the women’s 500m, earning Canada its best result in the distance since Heather McLean’s 10th place finish in 2019.
The ISU World Speed Skating Championships continue Saturday with the men’s and women’s 1000m and Mass Start. The races will be live streamed on CBC Sports and Radio-Canada Sports digital platforms, with Olympians Anastasia Bucsis and François-Olivier Roberge providing colour commentary in English and French, respectively.
“Today’s race was definitely not a bad race for us, but it was a little bit of a bittersweet win since the Dutch team was DQ’d. I think it’ll be back to the drawing board for our team next season, that’s for sure.”Ivanie Blondin
- Women’s 500m
- Carolina Hiller: 12th
- Brooklyn McDougall: 16th
- Men’s 500m
- Laurent Dubreuil: 2nd
- Christopher Fiola: 12th
- Frank Roth: 24th
- Team Pursuit
- Women’s: 1st
- Men’s: 2nd