Road To The Olympic Games


Ivanie Blondin grabs mass start silver at speed skating World Cup finals

Canada has two speed skaters finish in the top-three in the overall standings to end their World Cup season, with Ivanie Blondin coming in second in the mass start and Gilmore Junio earning third in the 500-metre event.

Gilmore Junio secures 3rd in the men's 500m

ISU World Cup Speed Skating Final in Heerenveen, Netherlands 4:47

Canada's Ivanie Blondin earned silver in the women's mass start at the speed skating World Cup finals to end the season second in overall standings for that event. 

Blondin, of Ottawa, was 0.25 seconds behind Dutch skater Irene Shouten's gold-medal pace of eight minutes, 16.63 seconds, while Japan's Miho Takagi was third. Shouten also claimed the overall crown. 

Blondin and Shouten crashed after a collision in the fourth lap of the race, seemingly eliminating them from contention, but they both fought back to reach the podium.

"I was really mad when I went down," Schouten said. "But I knew I had to get up fast." 

The Dutchwoman and the Canadian both had déjà vu, as last season Blondin took the World Cup final after a Schouten crash in the final race. 

"Of course the crash was not intentional," Blondin said. "I got pushed from behind and we collided. It was a reminder of last year and this is not the way you want to win. In the end this race shows how much difference having teammates makes in a mass start."

Calgary's Gilmore Junio maintained his position in the top-three overall with a fifth-place finish in the second men's 500m race of the weekend. 

Junio closed out the season 68 points behind Russia's Pavel Kulizhnikov and Ruslan Murashov, who were level at the top of the standings with 705 points. 

"I'm so happy with the season. If someone had told me at the beginning of the year that I'd be third overall, I might have just laughed," Junio said. 

Russia was missing its top skater, world sprint champion Kulizhnikov, who did not appear after testing positive for meldonium, but his countrymates Murashov and Yuskov made up for his absence on Sunday.

Murashov was second in the 500m, as Dutch skater Ronald Mulder was 0.08 seconds ahead. Finland's Mika Poutala rounded out the podium.

Yuskov won the 1,500 in 1:45.39 to top the season's standings. Sverre Lunde Pedersen of Norway was second and Bart Swings of Belgium finished third.

Brittany Bowe won her fourth race of the finals on Sunday, taking the 1,000 metres to underscore her dominance of the event this season.

Bowe won in 1:14.22, beating world champion Jorien ter Mors of the Netherlands into second place. Bowe's American teammate Heather Richardson-Bergsma was third. Bowe was already assured of winning the season-long World Cup standings before she raced at Thialf oval.

In the season's final World Cup tournament, Bowe won both 500 metre races and the 1,500 before Sunday's victory in the 1,000.

Ter Mors usually makes up time on Bowe in the later stages of the sprint, but not in this race.

"Brittany skated a great race with a really strong final lap," Ter Mors told Dutch broadcaster NOS.

With files from the Associated Press

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