Blondin, Belchos repeat as national champions in single-distance speed skating

Blondin, Belchos repeat as national champions

CALGARY — Ivanie Blondin and Jordan Belchos were crowned 2017 Canadian national champions in the women’s 3,000 metres and the men’s 5,000 metres, respectively, on Tuesday, the first day of the Canadian single-distance speed-skating championships.

Ottawa’s Blondin reclaimed her national title in the 3,000 metres by coming up with the win thanks to a time of four minutes 5.01 seconds. Blondin was already pre-qualified in this distance for this year’s world single distance championships, which will take place Feb. 9-12 on the official ice of the 2018 Olympics in South Korea.

“I had a hard time today finding motivation because I’ve pre-qualified for the world championships, and I did not necessarily have any pressure on my shoulders,” said Blondin. “Usually, the more pressure I have, the better I skate. This time, I had a harder time finding the fire within me. It’s good to have these different scenarios in races where I can really get to know myself better.”

Brianne Tutt of Airdrie, Alta., and Isabelle Weidemann of Ottawa, who won this event last year, shared second place in Tuesday’s race after both skating to a time of 4:11.387.

Both are eligible for the second and last Canadian spot in this distance at the world single distance championships. Tutt, who has already pre-qualified in the 1,500 metres, and Weidemann will have to wait for a decision from Speed Skating Canada’s long track high performance committee, which will meet on Friday.

In the men’s 5,000 metres, Toronto’s Belchos held on to his national title by skating to a time of 6:24.56. He finished ahead of Calgary’s Ted-Jan Bloemen (6:28.23) and Graeme Fish (6:32.63) of Moose Jaw, Sask.

With this win, Belchos, who has already pre-qualified in the mass start event at the worlds, earned Canada’s second spot in the 5,000-metre distance at the international competition.

The Canadian Press