Canadian Olympic gold medalist Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary, Alberta and Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa, Ontario each won silver medals on Saturday at a World Cup speed skating event in Calgary. Canadian speed skaters won three medals overall as Graeme Fish of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan came away with a bronze.
Bloemen and Fish each won their medals in the men’s 5000 metres. Bloemen posted a second place time of 6:07.43, and was narrowly beaten by Patrick Roest of the Netherlands, who won the gold medal with a time of 6:07.4. Fish won the bronze medal with a time of 6:10.54. Bloemen reached the podium by 3.49 seconds over fourth place finisher Davide Ghiotto of Italy, who had a fourth place time of 6:10.92. Fish reached the podium by 0.38 seconds.
Fish and Bloemen are in fourth and fifth place respectively in the World Cup men’s long distance speed skating standings. Fish has 198 points and Bloemen has 196 points. Roest leads with 240 points. Bloemen won the gold medal in the men’s 10000 metres and silver in the men’s 5000 metres speed skating World Cup at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang.
Meanwhile, in the women’s 1500 metre event, Blondin posted a Canadian record time of 1:51.767 in placing second. Miho Takagi of Japan won the gold medal with a time of 1:50.337, a track record at Calgary’s Olympic Oval. Ireen Wust of the Netherlands won the bronze medal with a time of 1:51.993. Blondin reached the podium by 0.33 seconds over Evgeniia Lalenkova of Russia, who had a fourth place time of 1:52.097.
The old Canadian record belonged to Canadian Olympic gold medalist Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Klassen had a time of 1:51.79 at a World Cup in Salt Lake City, Utah on November 20, 2005.
In the women’s 1500 metre World Cup standings, Blondin is in sixth place with 143 points. Wust leads with 222 points. The medals for Blondin, Fish and Bloemen will give them confidence as they prepare for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.
I last spoke to Ivanie Blondin prior to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. On Saturday, I had a chance to speak with her briefly again. I asked her to compare herself today compared to her time leading up to Pyeongchang.
“Back then I was strong, but not this strong,” explains Blondin. “Mentally, I am more stable than I was in the past. Last year was a really tough year for me. I suffered through depression. I think going through that, and coming out of it, I am just a stronger human being than what I have been in the past. I am definitely a different person than when I was back then, and a lot happier too. I have surrounded myself around incredible people and my success is attributed to that.”