Speed skaters Blondin, Dubreuil head World Cup selection races
Calgary Olympic Oval hosting trials Oct. 22-25
A star-studded group of Canadian speed skaters including world championship medallists Ivanie Blondin and Laurent Dubreuil and several Olympians will compete for positions on the World Cup team during four days of races at the Calgary Olympic Oval, October 22-25.
Headlining the skaters are Ottawa's Blondin, the 2014-2015 World Cup overall champion in women's mass start, as well as the bronze medalist in the 500 metre event at the 2015 World Single Distance Championships and 2014-2015 World Cup overall vice champion, Dubreuil of Lévis, Qué. who pre-qualified as athletes ranked among the top 5 in the world.
Three Olympians from the 2014 Games, Gilmore Junio of Calgary, Vincent de Haître of Cumberland, Ont., and William Dutton from Humboldt, Sask, will also compete as well as two Olympic medalists in short track speed skating, Jessica Gregg and Olivier Jean. Jean has crossed over to long track to try and make the World Cup team in the mass start event, which will be a new discipline at the 2018 Olympic Games.
Ben Donnelly of Oshawa, Ont. will also be a skater to watch. He set a new Canadian junior record in the 3000 metre distance at the end of September.
Skaters are trying to earn a spot on Canada's team at the first four ISU long track speed skating World Cup stages slated for this fall, in Calgary (November 13-15), Salt Lake City, USA (November 20-22), Inzell, Germany (December 46) and Heerenveen, Netherlands (December 11-13).
The races at the Fall World Cup Selections, to be held simultaneously with the Oval Invitational competition, will kick off on Thursday, October 22 at 1 p.m. with the women's 3000 metre and men's 5000 metre events. Friday, the first 500 metre races will take place at 1:25 pm, followed by the women's 5000 metre and the men's 10,000 metre. Saturday, the second 500 metre race and the first 1000 metre contest will start at 1 pm. On Sunday, the 1500 metre races and the mass start events will be held starting at 11 am.
The other skaters on the Fall World Cup team will be selected according to the final order per distance and by gender at the Fall World Cup Selections. Quotas will be at the discretion of Speed Skating Canada's High Performance Committee.