Orléans’ Ivanie Blondin picked up a bronze medal at the World Single Distance Championship, but walking away without a medal in her speciality event, the mass start, had to sting.
Blondin won a bronze in the 5,000 metre race on Feb. 11 in Gangneung, South Korea, just behind skaters from the Czech Republic and Germany. She had previously finished fourth in the 3,000 m race.
“It was a great race from start to finish. I showed that I was gutsy,” she said in a Speed Skating Canada press release. “The 3,000m really got to me personally, as did the team pursuit. I really wanted that medal and I was so close to it. It kind of made me get fired up about it.”
It’s the first time a Canadian has come home with a medal in that event since 2009 when Clara Hughes won a medal in the same distance.
On Feb. 11, she said it alleviated some of the stress of the championships, knowing she already had a medal in her pocket.
The defending world champion in the mass start hadn’t competed yet in her marquee event, which was scheduled to take place the following day.
“I just have to be mentally prepared for tomorrow and be smart about the race, and make sure I don't fall into the same trap as I did at World Cup four,” she said. She was 10th in the fourth World Cup mass start race.
Unfortunately for Blondin, things didn’t go as planned in the mass start race, held Feb. 12.
Speed Skating Canada said she was well positioned in the pack of skaters with two turns left to go when a top skater, Netherlands’ Irene Schouten, fell in front of her.
Blondin had to slow down behind Schouten, and finished fifth in the race, and 10th when intermediate points were taken into account.
Blondin said she thought she was having a great race until the last lap when she got stuck behind other skaters, and when Schouten fell when trying to pass her on the inside, she couldn’t push past any of the other top contenders.
She said it was tough because she had a lot of energy left, and thought the race was winnable.
“It's so frustrating because I know I should have been first, I know I'm stronger than every single one of those girls,” Blondin said in a press release. “I should have been on the podium today, and even bring back a gold medal for our country. I'm glad this is not the Olympic race, that this happened this year and not next year. I'll use it to fuel my fire for the next races.”
The race was won by South Korean skater Bo-Reum Kim.
The mass start race will make it’s debut as an Olympic event in 2018.