Fall Classic wraps up with wins for Junio & Blondin
Calgary, AB - 267 National and International skaters took part in first major Oval competition of the 2018-19 season this weekend. Fall Classic saw several of the sports best from Canada, China and Korea skate aside all levels of skaters from Club to Olympic. All races can be rewatched on the Olympic Oval Youtube channel and full results will be available following the competition.
Day 1 - Canada sweeps Top 5 in 5000m; China's Pei Chong takes first in both 1000m & 500m
Day one of Fall Classic began with the sprinters taking centre stage in the first 500m and 1000m races of the weekend. China’s Pei Chong took first in both the women’s 500m and 1000m events with times of 38.66 and 1:17.20 respectively. In the 500m event she was followed by a pair of Korean Olympians - 19 year old Kim Min-Sun and 2014 Olympian Kim Hyun-Yung. In the 1000m Pei led an all Chinese sweep of the podium with her teammates and Olympians Hao Jiachen (1:17.92) and Li Dan 94 (1:18.16) rounding out the top 3.
Alberta’s own Brooklyn McDougall was the Top Canadian in both races with a 5th place in the 500m (39.89) and a 7th place finish in the 1000m (1:19.38). McDougall, a former Oval Program skater, continues to break out following a big season in 2017-18 that saw her capture the title of Canadian Junior Champion.
Similarly, the Men’s 500m and 1000m were won by the same person, Korean Olympian Chung Jae Woong with times of 35.56 and 1:09.80. It was a Korean sweep on both podiums with Cha Min Kyu (35.60) and Kim Young-Jin (35.71) rounding out the top 3 in the 500m and Jin (1:10.59) and Kim Jin-Su (1:10.59) in the 1000m.
Albertan Connor Howe posted a time of 36.73 to take 8th and barely edged out fellow Albertan Frank Roth for the title of Top Canadian in the 500m. While veteran World Cup and Olympic skater Olivier Jean barely missed the podium in the 1000m with a time of 1:10.78, good enough for fourth.
The highlight of Day 1 came in the form of an All-Canadian Top 5 in the Men’s 5000m. Not surprisingly, Olympic 5000m silver medallist and current 5k World Record holder Ted-Jan Bloemen led the way with a 6:21.10. He was followed by Jordan Belchos and Graeme Fish who had a closely contested battle for second. Hayden Mayeur and Kaleb Muller finished the Top 5 sweep for the Canadians.
Day 2 - Pei Chong continues Fall Classic win streak; Hudey & Irvine take silver; Weidemann & Blondin take first and second in 3000m
Day 2 saw more of the same as Pei Chong took first in both the 500m and 1000m events but this time was flanked by a pair of Canadians. Olympian and White City, Saskatchewan’s own Marsha Hudey took second in the 500m with a time of 39.03 while her National teammate Kaylin Irvine posted a time of 1:17.69 to place second in the 1000m. Both Hudey and Irvine skated for Canada in the 2014 and 2018 Olympics. Kim Hyun-Yung (39.20) placed third for the second day in a row in the 500m while Nam Ye-Won finished tied Irvine for second in the 1000m.
The Korean men once again swept the podium in the second 500m with Kim Jun-Ho (35.20), Cha Min Kyu (35.69) and Chung Jae Woong (35.70) all posting impressive times. The tip Canadian was Calgary’s Gilmore Junio who was able to place fifth with a time of 35.82.
In the Men’s 1000m, China’s Ning Zhongyan led the way with a time of 1:09.84 to hold off a pair of Koreans in Kim Young-Ho (1:10.49) and Kim Jin-Su (1:10.58). Canadian Sam Deckert took a 7th place finish with a time of 1:10.93.
Isabelle Weidemann and Ivanie Blondin picked up where they left off as they each posted strong early season times of 4:04.87 and 4:05.75 to lead the way in the Women’s 3000m race. Weidemann edged out her Olympic teammate to take first while China’s Han Mei skated to a 4:08.15 to round out the podium. Also of note, was short track conversion turned Olympian Keri Morrison and newly converted 3-time short track Olympian Valerie Maltais.
The day concluded with Men’s Junior and Senior Mass Start races with Yu Jiawei taking the junior and Canadian Olympian Jordan Belchos taking the senior.
Day 3 - Canadians Junio and Blondin push back with big wins on final day of Fall Classic
The 2018 Fall Classic wrapped up Sunday with the 500m and 1500m races and a Women's Mass Start. Calgarian Gilmore Junio posted a time of 35.42 to take first in the Sunday 500m men's event. The 2-time Olympian took 0.4 seconds off his time from Saturday as he continues to amp up for another World Cup season. Korean Olympic Bronze medalist (in the 1000m) Kim Tae-Yun (35.46) took second place while his countryman and 2014 Olympian Kim Jun-Ho (35.54) rounded out the podium.
On the women’s side, it was an all Korean sweep of the 500m podium with Nam Ye-Won (39.71), Park Chae-Eun (40.03) and Kim Min Ji (40.12) taking first, second and third. The top Canadian was Yuna Lovell who skated to a tenth place finish with a time of 42.93.
The women’s 1500m event saw another Canadian atop the podium as 2-time Olympian Ivanie Blondin, a primarily 3000m, 5000m, Mass Start and Team Pursuit skater posted a 1:55.72 to take first place. The Ottawa product remains one of Canada’s strongest and most experienced skaters entering the 2018-19 World Cup season. She was joined on the podium by a pair of Chinese skaters, Han Mei (1:56.90) a 2018 Olympic skater in the Team Pursuit and Chen Xiangyu (1:58.75).
Olympic champion in the 10k and Olympic silver medalist in the 5k - Ted-Jan Bloemen found himself on the podium at Fall Classic in the 1500m. He placed third behind Chinese skater Ning Zhongyan (1:46.09) and Kim Min Seok (1:46.51), a 2-time Olympic medalist in the Team Pursuit (Silver) and the 1500m (Bronze) in Pyeongchang 2018. Bloemen is primarily a long distance skater and is the current World Record holder in 10k and 5k distances.
Fall Classic finally came to an end with the Women’s Mass Start as a trip of Chinese skaters Yin Qi, Tao Jiaying and Li Dan crowded the podium. Converted short track Olympian Valerie Maltais was the top Canadian, finishing 4th.
Remember, all the races from this year’s Fall Classic can be replayed on the Olympic Oval Youtube Channel.