Blondin collects mass start silver at speed skating world championships
Canadian crosses finish line about a half-second behind Dutch skater Schouten
Ottawa's Ivanie Blondin followed Saturday's sixth-place finish with a silver-medal performance in the women's mass start at the at the world single distance speed skating championships on Sunday at Inzell, Germany.
The 28-year-old clocked eight minutes 28.460 seconds, about a half-second behind winner Irene Schouten of the Netherlands (8:27.840). Russia's Elizaveta Kazelina was third in 8:29.290.
WATCH | Ivanie Blondin narrowly miss a gold medal in mass start:
"I'm pretty ecstatic about the result today," Blondin told Speed Skating Canada. "I sacrificed my 1,500-metre race today to save my legs for the final sprint. I was able to start the final sprint a bit earlier and create a gap, so I'm really happy with my decision and race plan."
On the 10th lap, Blondin was tripped up in a collision that knocked teammate Valerie Maltais from the race, but regained her footing, rejoined the pack. After pulling away on the final lap, Blondin was passed down the stretch.
Her medal was the second for Canada at the competition following the silver in women's team sprint. In all, Canadians earned nine top-10 finishes.
Top-10 finishes in 5,000, team pursuit
Blondin now has three medals in mass start since the discipline was introduced in 2015. She claimed silver at the world championships that year and was crowned champion in 2016.
She was disqualified in the women's 3,000 on Thursday.
"I started this competition with a very unsettling result," said Blondin, referring to the 3,000. "Sometimes life throws you a curveball, but I knew that I'd be the one to come back and hit it out of the park."
'Feeling of comfort"
She praised Maltais for her "true grit" and having Blondin's back.
"Val and I go way back to short track where we competed and trained together," she said. "Going into this race, I had a feeling of comfort knowing she was on the start line with me."
However, Maltais didn't finish and placed 23rd. Winnipeg's Jess Neufeld was the lone Canadian in the men's mass start and finished 24th.
On Feb. 3, Blondin was fourth (1:57.349) in the women's 1,500 in Hamar, Norway, for her best result on the World Cup circuit in that distance. Her previous best of sixth was earned last season in Erfurt, Germany.
Other Canadian results on Sunday:
- Antoine Gelinas-Beaulieu, Sherbrooke, Que. — eighth in men's 1,500.
- Connor Howe, Canmore, Alta. — 22nd in men's 1,500.
- Valerie Maltais, Saguenay, Que. — 15th in women's 1,500.
- Kali Christ, Regina — 21st in women's 1,500.