Speed Skating Canada announces 19 athletes for 2016 World Single Distance Championships; Competition starts Friday!
KOLOMNA, Russia – Canada will send a total of 19 athletes to the 2016 ISU Long Track World Single Distance Championships to be held this weekend, February 11-14, in Kolomna, Russia. Team Canada includes a steady mix of veterans and young stars with Isabelle Weidemann and Junior Ben Donnelly both participating.
At the World Single Distance Championships, champions are crowned in the following men’s and women’s events: 500m (based on the cumulative time of the two events), 1000m, 1500m, 5000m, mass start and team pursuit, as well as women’s 5000m and men’s 10,000m.
2015-2016 Canadian World Cups individual medalists Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary, AB, Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa, ON, Alex Boisvert-Lacroix of Sherbrooke, QC, William Dutton of Humboldt, SK, Gilmore Junio of Calgary, AB, Heather McLean of Winnipeg, QC and Alexandre St-Jean of Quebec City, QC, will lead the Canadian team in this competition to be held right in the middle of the Olympic cycle leading to the 2018 Games.
In the men’s 500m, Boisvert-Lacroix, Junio and Dutton are second, third and seventh respectively in the 2015-2016 World Cup Overall ranking. Boisvert-Lacroix and Dutton both won four medals so far in five World Cups in the 500m, while Junio climbed the podium twice.
“I’m very confident for the World Single Distance Championships”, said the best Canadian so far in the World Cup 500m overall ranking, Alex Boisvert-Lacroix.
“I trained very hard before leaving for Europe and I knew I had to neglect my performances a bit at World Cup #5 to reach my full potential in Kolomna two weeks after”, added Boisvert-Lacroix. “I’m much rested and more and more ready! I would like to be in the top-8. It’s very realistic at my first-ever World Single Distance Championships. In ten 500m races this season, I finished nine times in the top-10. I know I have a chance to be on the podium and, for sure, I’ll give my everything.”
Like Boisvert-Lacroix, it will be the first-ever World Single Distance Championships for Dutton, Ben Donnelly of Oshawa, ON, Brianne Tutt of Airdrie, AB, Isabelle Weidemann of Ottawa, ON, Stefan Waples of Winnipeg, MB, as well as for Alexandre St-Jean who won a silver medal in the 500m at the World Cup in Inzell, Germany. In Kolomna, he will take part in the 1000m.
In the women’s 500m, Heather McLean won her second bronze medal of the season two weeks ago at the World Cup #5 in Stavanger, Norway. She is currently seventh in the World Cup overall ranking in that distance.
“I’m looking forward to representing Canada at the World Single Distance Championships”, said McLean who took part in this competition for the first time last season. “In Kolomna, I’ll prepare as any other practice or race. Consistency is key for me. If I can race as focused as I can train, I’ll be happy!”
The 2014-2015 World Cup Champion in the Mass Start event and silver medalist in the same event at the 2015 World Single Distance Championships, Ivanie Blondin, will look to be on the podium again this year. In Kolomna, she will take part in the mass start, 3000m and 5000m individual events. So far in five World Cups, Blondin won a bronze medal in the 5000m in Salt Lake City, as well as two silver and two bronze medals in mass start.
“My goals in Kolomna are to win the mass start event and to be in the top 5 in the 5000m”, said Blondin.
Ted-Jan Bloemen, who celebrated his return to competition two weeks ago in Norway with a bronze medal in the 5000m following a lacerated left tibia, will aim to repeat his performance in Kolomna. Bloemen will also compete in the 10,000m which he broke the World Record at this season’s World Cup in Salt Lake City.
“I will be able to compete at full strength again for the first time after my injury for the most important competition of the season”, said Bloemen. “My medal in Stavanger was a big boost of confidence and I’m looking in my three events as three opportunities for a medal. This is where we want to throw down our best races!”
All athletes qualified following their performances at the Fall World Cups, Canadian Single Distance Championships or at the World Cup #5 in Norway.
Competitions will start Thursday, February 11, with the women’s 3000m and men’s 10,000m. Friday, the women’s 1000m and 5000m as well as the men’s 1500m and team pursuit are scheduled, followed, Saturday, by the men’s 1000m and 5000m, and women’s 500m and team pursuit. The men’s 500m, women’s 1500m and mass start events will end the competition.
Last year in Heerenveen, Canada won four medals. Denny Morrison won a silver medal in the 1500m as well as the silver in the team pursuit with Ted-Jan Bloemen and Jordan Belchos, while Laurent Dubreuil took bronze in the 500m and Ivanie Blondin, silver in the mass start. Since the first event in 1996, Canada has won 72 medals.
Broadcasted on CBC and cbc.ca
The performances of the Canadian team will be broadcasted on CBC Saturday, February 13th, from 4 pm to 5 pm (Eastern Time) and Sunday, February 14th, from 3 pm to 4 pm (Eastern Time).
Competitions will also be live streamed on cbc.ca Friday, February 12th, from 9 am to 1:20 pm, Saturday, February 13th, from 6:50 am to 12:20 pm, and Sunday, February 14th, from 6:20 am to 10:20 am, all Eastern Time.
Members of the Canadian National Team at the 2016 ISU World Single Distance Championships:
-BLONDIN, Ivanie (Ottawa, ON) – 3000m, 5000m, Mass Start, Team Pursuit
-CHRIST, Kali (Regina, SK) – 1500m
-HUDEY, Marsha (White City, SK) – 500m
-IRVINE, Kaylin (Calgary, AB) – 1000m
-McLEAN, Heather (Winnipeg, MB) – 500m, Mass Start
-REMPEL, Shannon (Winnipeg, MB) – 500m
-SPENCE, Josie (Kamloops, B.C.) – 1500m, Team Pursuit
-TUTT, Brianne (Airdrie, AB) – 1500m, Team Pursuit
-WEIDEMANN, Isabelle (Ottawa, ON) – 3000m, 5000m
-BELCHOS, Jordan (Toronto, ON) – 5000m, 10,000m, Mass Start, Team Pursuit
-BLOEMEN, Ted-Jan (Calgary, AB) – 5000m, 10,000m, Team Pursuit
-BOISVERT-LACROIX, Alex (Sherbrooke, QC) – 500m
-De HAÎTRE, Vincent (Cumberland, ON) – 1000m, 1500m
-DONNELLY, Ben (Oshawa, ON) – 1500m, Team Pursuit
-DUTTON, William (Humboldt, SK) – 500m
-JUNIO, Gilmore (Calgary, AB) – 500m
-MACLENNAN, Richard (Sault Ste. Marie, ON) – 1000m
-ST-JEAN, Alexandre (Quebec City, QC) – 1000m
-WAPLES, Stefan (Winnipeg, MB) - Mass Start
More details are available at Speed Skating Canada's web site at www.speedskating.ca.