Calgary, AB – William Dutton and Ted-Jan Bloemen each won a bronze medal, both earning their first individual career medal on the World Cup circuit, Friday, on the first day of the 2015-2016 season's first ISU World Cup Long Track Speed Skating stage, to be held until Sunday at Calgary's Olympic Oval.
In the men's 5000m, Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary collected the bronze medal while also setting a new Canadian record. He finished the race in 6:12.72. The previous record of 6:14.01 had been held by Arne Dankers since 2005.
It was the second time this fall that Bloemen set a new Canadian record. He came up with the same feat in the 10 000m raced at the Fall World Cup Selections.
“I’m so happy to win this medal, and to do it here it in Calgary is definitely something special,” said Bloemen.
“I’m really surprised, actually. For this race, I was really pumped and I thought I could come up with a good race, and then things didn’t go as planned at all. I didn’t want to go out fast, so when I saw that I was doing really fast lap times and that the end of the race started to be really tough on the legs, I thought for sure there would be a lot of people who would end up being faster than me. For a second after my race, I thought I had blown it. Apparently not!”
Bloemen, who is originally from the Netherlands but now has double citizenship, moved to Canada in June of 2014 and he has since been skating for his adopted country at the international level.
“I definitely made the right decision to come here to train. Canada has given me a lot and I hope to be able to give back by winning several medals,” he added.
Dutch skaters Sven Kramer (6:08.61) and Jorrit Bergsma (6:10.44), respectively finished first and second.
A medal after coming out of retirement
In the first of the two 500m races slated for the weekend, William Dutton of Humboldt, Saskatchewan, finished third but also tied his personal best of 34.46 seconds, which he set last week.
“Last night, I dreamt that I won a medal. I felt it could happen today, so it's all really exciting,” said Dutton. “Honestly, I’ve prepared myself for this. Last weekend, I had a personal best time that put me in a position to compete for a medal.”
The Olympian who skated at the Sochi Games and will turn 26 at the end of the month of November had announced his retirement this summer, but he later changed his mind upon learning that Kevin Crockett had been hired to be part of the Canadian team's coaching staff.
“When I found out Kevin got the job, I thought, I might go faster or I might not, but that it was worth a shot,” said Dutton. “I made a new plan where I could attend school and still skate, and now I’m just trying to enjoy the sport without putting a lot of pressure on myself.”
Russia's Pavel Kulizhnikov won gold with a time of 34.11, followed by Finland's Mika Poutala (34.28) and by Dutton.
Second overall in this distance at the conclusion of the 2015-2016 World Cup season, Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, QC, finished in 8th place with a time of 34.69.
“This morning during the warm-up, I had a great first turn but in the race this afternoon, it really didn't go well,” said Dubreuil. “I wasn't feeling my best and, after the race, I saw that one of the screws in my skate had loosened up. I could also have been better technically, but I wasn't relaxed. I think I was a bit nervous, especially after seeing that some of the other skaters before me had fallen. I have to bear down and focus on the technical side of things to prepare for Sunday's second race.”
In the women's 3000m, Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa finished in 7th place while setting a new personal best in that distance, with a time of 4:02.19. Her previous best was 4:04.03.
“My goal was to finish in the top-10 this weekend, so I can say mission accomplished,” said Blondin.
“Mentally, today, I was really on top of it. I was able to really pull it together and perform well. I’m not on the podium, but things are going in the right direction,” she added.
Czech skater Martina Sábliková, the World Cup overall champion in 2014-2015 and the gold medalist in the women's 3000m at the 2015 World Single Distance Championships, won Friday's 3000m race in 3:57.21. Irene Schouten (3:58.39) of the Netherlands and Natalya Voronina (3:58.78) from Russia respectively earned silver and bronze.
Several other personal bests
In Friday's division B races, several Canadien skaters set new personal bests.
Alex Boisvert-Lacroix of Sherbrooke, QC, skated to a personal best and to a first-place finish in the first of two division B 500m races set for the weekend. Boisvert-Lacroix, who won gold in one the 500m events raced at the Fall World Cup Selections, skated to a time of 34.39, to improve his previous personal best of 34.62 by 23 hundredths of a second.
In the 3000m B race, Isabelle Weidemann of Ottawa was the top Canadian with a 7th-place finish, while setting a new personal best of 4:06.60. Josie Spence of Kamloops, BC, was 12th, also with a new personal best, which now stands at 4:10.21.
In the 5000m B race, Stefan Waples (6:24.61) and Ben Donnelly (6:28.30) also set new personal bests, Donnelly being at less than a second of the Canadian junior record of 6:27.68.
TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS
5000m M - A
BRONZE: Ted-Jan Bloemen: 6:12.72
500m M (1) - A
BRONZE: William Dutton: 34.46
8. Laurent Dubreuil: 34.69
3000m W - A
7. Ivanie Blondin: 4:02.19
500m W (1) - B
1. Marsha Hudey: 37.86
2. Heather McLean: 37.90
7. Kaylin Irvine: 38.60
7. Shannon Rempel: 38.60
15. Jessica Gregg: 38.97
500m M (1) - B
1. Alex Boisvert-Lacroix: 34.39
2. Gilmore Junio: 34.48
4. Alexandre St-Jean: 34.73
3000m W - B
4. Isabelle Weidemann: 4:06.60
12. Josie Spence: 4:10.21
14. Lauren McGuire: 4:13.35
19. Kali Christ: 4:14.62
5000m M - B
2. Jordan Belchos: 6:17.16
8. Stefan Waples: 6:24.61
13. Ben Donnelly: 6:28.30
24. Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu: 6:38.07