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Blondin wins silver, Canadian men earn two bronze at speedskating World Cup

CALGARY — Ivanie Blondin raced to silver to highlight three more medals for Canada on the final day of the long-track speedskating World Cup at the Olympic Oval on Sunday.

CALGARY — Ivanie Blondin raced to silver to highlight three more medals for Canada on the final day of the long-track speedskating World Cup at the Olympic Oval on Sunday.

Blondin, from Ottawa, climbed the podium in the women's mass start event, while Laurent Dubreuil of Levis, Que., earned bronze in the men's 500 metres and the Canadian men took bronze in team pursuit.

After helping the Canadian women win gold in women's team pursuit a day earlier, Blondin won her second medal of the three-day event, finishing the 16-lap mass start event in a time of eight minutes 29.71 seconds. 

"After such a long weekend and three races in the day, it’s tough mentally and it’s also very tough physically so I’m happy to just step on the podium at this point," said Blondin.

She was third in her mass start semifinal heat in the morning before finishing eighth in the women’s 1,500 in the early afternoon. 

Italy's Francesca Lollobrigida won gold in 8:29.51, while Russia’s Elizaveta Golubeva finished just 0.01 behind Blondin to take bronze. 

"Strategically, Lollo just had a better race than I did and that’s the name of the game," said Blondin, who remains at the top of the World Cup standings ahead of Lollobrigida. 

"Going into the last lap and a half, I was stuck out in the front and it was just a tiny bit too early so I missed a little bit at the end for the final 100 metres."

Valerie Maltais of Saguenay, Que., finished seventh in the 18-skater field.

Two days after setting a track record of 33.77 while also bettering Jeremy Wotherspoon's 14-year-old Canadian record, Dubreuil had to settle for third in the men’s 500 metres on Sunday in a time of 34.06. 

"It’s tough to come back from almost the perfect race and the best maybe I’ve ever felt in my skating career,” said Dubreuil, who leads the World Cup standings after reaching the podium in all eight races this fall. 

"Eight medals in eight 500s is just unexpected and not something I would have even thought about doing. The most medals I’ve ever won in a World Cup season before this was five."

Russia’s Viktor Mushtakov won gold in 33.90, while Japan’s Yuma Murakami earned silver in 33.99. Alex Boisvert-Lacroix of Sherbrooke, Que., finished seventh, while Calgary’s Gilmore Junio was well back in 16th.

Calgary’s Ted-Jan Bloemen then teamed up with Toronto’s Jordan Belchos and Connor Howe of Canmore, Alta., to finish third in team pursuit in a time of 3:38.60 to win Canada’s eighth medal of the event.

Blondon cheered on the men's team before conducting her post-race interviews. 

"I’m happy and I’m really proud of our team," she said. "Eight medals is incredible. From World Cup to World Cup we just kept building and the team atmosphere is also incredible right now."

Americans Casey Dawson, Ethan Cepuran and Emery Lehman finished first in 3:35.59, just ahead of the Norwegian team of Peder Kongshaug, Hallgeir Engebraten and Sverre Lunde Pedersen, who clocked a time of 3:36.24.

In the men’s 1,000, China’s Zhongyan Ning won gold in a time of 1:06.65. American Jordan Stolz finished second in 1:06.96, just 0.02 ahead of Mushtakov, who added a bronze medal to the gold he won earlier. Howe ended up as the top Canadian in sixth spot, while Dubreuil finished eighth.

American Brittany Bowe won gold in the women’s 1,500 in a time of 1:52.05 just slightly ahead of Nana Takagi (1:52.06) and Ayano Sato (1:52.19), both of Japan. Ottawa’s Isabelle Weidemann finished in 11th spot.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 12, 2021.

Laurence Heinen, The Canadian Press