Canada scores silver, bronze at speed skating single distance worlds
Vincent De Haitre, Ivanie Blondin pre-qualify for Olympics
Vincent De Haitre's silver and Ivanie Blondin's bronze at the world single distance speed skating championships pre-qualified them for the upcoming Winter Games in South Korea.
The duo also snapped Canada's medal drought at the event on Saturday, which is being held on the 2018 Olympic track in Pyeongchang.
"I never thought about what it would feel like to be pre-qualified for the Olympics," De Haitre, who won his medal in the men's 1,000-metre event, said. "But I can say that it's definitely, now that you mention it, it feels pretty good."
The Canadian was 0.28 seconds back of winner Kjeld Nuis of the Netherlands, who posted the golden time of one minute, 08.26 seconds. Another Dutch racer, Kai Verbij, was third in 1:08.78.
De Haitre and Blondin still require performance confirmations during the next season's World Cups to ensure their full qualification, according to Speed Skating Canada.
"It's a great feeling to finally put in the effort and show how fierce I can be on the ice and finally come home with a medal," Blondin said after her 5,000 bronze.
Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic won gold in 6:52.38. Sabilikova finished 1.55 ahead of Germany's Claudia Pechstein and 4.76 in front of Blondin.
Olympic silver medallist Sven Kramer won the 10,000-metre title
The Dutchman, who also won gold in the 5,000 at Sochi, clocked 12:38.89 seconds to finish 5.06 seconds ahead of compatriot Jorrit Bergsma. Patrick Beckert of Germany was third in 12:52.76 while Canada's Ted-Jan Bloemen finished just off the podium in fourth.
Heather Bergsma of the United States claimed the women's 1,000 in 1:13.94. Japan's Nao Kodaira was second, 0.49 back, followed by Jorien ter Mors of the Netherlands in 1:14.66.
Watch CBC Sports' live streaming coverage Saturday at 3:30 a.m ET and Sunday 4 a.m. ET, and catch more coverage on CBC TV's Road to the Olympic Games show Sunday at 1 p.m. local time.
With files from CBC Sports and The Associated Press