Calgary, January 4, 2016 – Isabelle Weidemann of Ottawa and Jordan Belchos of Toronto both registered their second win of the competition as they respectively won the women’s 5000m and the men’s 10 000m events held Monday, on the second day of Speed Skating Canada’s 2016 Canadian Single Distance Long Track Championships, held at the Calgary Olympic Oval until Wednesday.
One day after winning her first-ever gold medal at the senior level in the 3000m, Isabelle Weidemann, age 20, raced to a time of 7:17.95 to win the women’s 5000m, followed by Josie Spence (7:18.44) of Kamloops, B.C., and Lauren McGuire (7:24.98) of Ottawa.
With Monday's win, Weidemann has put herself in position to secure a spot to race the 5000m in the World Single Distance Championships, scheduled February 11-14 in Kolomna, Russia. Canada will have two athletes compete in this event at the World Single Distance Championships. Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa is already pre-qualified to race based on her performances last fall. Speed Skating Canada will confirm the final team in an official announcement following the competition.
“My race was consistent. I was going for even lap times. I’ve been working with my coach Xiuli Wang on setting up my corners and my track pattern and that’s something I find helps me to focus and be consistent,” explained Isabelle Weidemann. “I’m happy that finishing first today puts me in a really good spot to skate at the World Single Distance Championships.”
In the men’s 10 000m, Jordan Belchos also won his second race of the competition. His time of 13:30.23 allowed him to finish ahead of Hamish Black (13:54.27) of Lucknow, B.C. Belchos won the 5000m on Sunday.
At the 2016 World Single Distance Championships, Canada only has one spot in this distance, which will go to Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary based on his performances during the Fall World Cups. Bloemen is currently ranked fifth overall following four World Cups.
Heather McLean and Alex Boisvert-Lacroix win the first 500m
In the first 500m event of the competition, Alex Boisvert-Lacroix of Sherbrooke and Heather McLean of Winnipeg both came out on top.
Boisvert-Lacroix, age 28 and currently ranked second in the world in the 500m, clocked a time of 34.32, which was only two hundredths of a second off his personal best time of 34.30. Gilmore Junio (34.80) of Calgary and Laurent Dubreuil (34.87) of Lévis, QC, respectively finished second and third.
“When I saw my time, I was more than happy. I wasn’t expecting the race to be that fast today. I executed my plan almost perfectly, so that is a big part of the result,” said Boisvert-Lacroix. “Tomorrow, I will use the same mindset to focus on my race and execution. I’m also excited about the 1000m because I feel like I’m in good shape and it will be interesting to see what I can do.”
Heather McLean, who is ranked seventh internationally, won the first women's 500m of the competition with a time of 37.81, edging out Marsha Hudey (38.23) of White City, SK, and Anastasia Bucsis (38.42) of Calgary.
“Overall, I was happy with my race. We’ve had a few weekends off racing, so it felt good to get back into it, but there are definitely still things I need to work on and that I’m hoping to improve in tomorrow’s race,” said McLean. “I think it’s good to get that first race under my belt. I always enjoy the last couple of races. I feel like I need to get going before I can really nail everything, so I’m definitely looking forward to tomorrow.”
Monday’s 500m time will be compiled with Tuesday’s second race time in order to determine the overall winner in the 500m event.
On the men side, Boisvert-Lacroix and William Dutton (34.90), who placed fourth today and is ranked fourth internationally in the 500m, are already pre-qualified for World Cup #5 in Stavanger, Norway, set for January 29-31, 2016, as well as for the World Single Distance Championships, as are McLean and Hudey on the women’s side. Team Canada will send up to three more men and women to Stavanger to compete in the 500m, where they will battle for the last of three spots in the World Single Distance Championships.
After a year away from skating, 2010 and 2014 Olympian Anastasia Bucsis is back training for the 2018 Olympic Games and she finished strong in third place, putting her in a good position going into Tuesday’s second 500m.
“It’s a huge struggle to focus on where you’ve come and the progress you’ve made and where you think you should be. I’m really happy with how things came together today. It was far from perfect, but I’ve learned throughout this season that I have to be patient. I’m starting to see things click in practice, and to see evidence of that in this race is a huge step in the right direction,” said Anastasia Bucsis.
Many new personal bests in the 500m
Monday’s 500m saw many National Team members register new personal bests, such as Senior Pool skater Brianne Tutt (39.52) of Airdrie, AB, as did many Development/NextGEN Pool members: Ben Donnelly (36.50) of Oshawa, ON, Christopher Fiola (35.24) of Montreal, Dan Carruthers (36.62) of Cambridge, ON, Jacob Graham (35.66) of Dawson Creek, B.C., and Sam Deckert (35.81) of Winnipeg, MB. Deckert also clocked a new personal best in the 1000m with a time of 1:09.77.
Podiums from Monday’s competition:
Canadian Single Distance Championships
500m (1) W
1. Heather McLean (37.81)
2. Marsha Hudey (38.23)
3. Anastasia Bucsis (38.42)
500m (1) M
1. Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (34.32)
2. Gilmore Junio (34.80)
3. Laurent Dubreuil (34.87)
1. Jordan Belchos (13:30.23)
2. Hamish Black (13:54.27)
1. Isabelle Weidemann (7:17.95)
2. Josie Spence (7:18.44)
3. Lauren McGuire (7:24.98)
Canada Cup #2
500m (1) M
1. Wang Nan, CHN (35.41)
2. Tian Yu, CHN (35.69)
3. Chen Zengqiang, CHN (36.18)
5. Ben Donnelly, ON (36.50)
6. Jerome Detuncq, QC (36.50)
7. Nick Goplen, B.C. (36.52)
500m (1) W
1. Dan Li, CHN (39.49)
2. Rikke Jeppsson, NOR (40.13)
3. Béatrice Lamarche, QC (40.19)
4. Josie Spence, B.C. (40.20)
5. Abigail Mccluskey, B.C. (40.33)
1000m (1) M
1. Sam Deckert, MB (1:09.77)
2. Dan Carruthers, ON (1:10.21)
3. Wang Nang, CHN (1:10.22)
4. Daniel Dubreuil, QC (1:10.73)
1000m (1) W
1. Béatrice Lamarche, QC (1:19.14)
2. Alexandra Ianculescu, ON (1:19.55)
3. Keri Morrison, ON (1:19.64)
More information, including full schedule and a link to the results, can be found on Speed Skating Canada’s website: www.speedskating.ca.