Canada's Blondin claims silver in mass start at world speedskating championships

HEERENVEEN, Netherlands — Canadian Ivanie Blondin skated to a silver medal in the women's mass start at the world speedskating championships on Saturday.

The Ottawa skater finished in a time of eight minutes 34.19 seconds.

Marijke Groenewoud of the Netherlands won gold in 8:19.36, while teammate Irene Schouten, who won gold in the event at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, settled for bronze in 8:34.37.

Groenewoud broke away from the field on the fifth lap and successfully held on to the lead for the remainder of the race.

“I made a mistake by thinking Marijke wasn’t going to attack right away and it was kind of game over from that point forward. It’s too bad because I think I could have won the title if I didn’t let that happen," said Blondin, a two-time world champion in the event (2016 and 2020).

It was the second medal in two days for Blondin, who won gold on Friday in the women's team pursuit with Canadian teammates Isabelle Weidemann and Valérie Maltais.

The Canadian trio was awarded first place after the Dutch team, which included Groenewoud and Schouten, was disqualified for having bare skin showing during the race.

Maltais finished eighth in Saturday's mass start.

"I’m really grateful for Val’s help in this race. She allowed me to just breathe and be somewhat calm to race for second place today," said Blondin, who also won silver in the event at the Beijing Games. "Unfortunately, our tactic didn’t work out as planned, but that’s OK. We’re learning and it will make us better for next year.”

Blondin's silver was Canada's sixth medal of the competition.

The world championships conclude on Sunday with the men’s 1,500 metre and 10,000 races, as well as the women’s 1,500 and 5,000 competitions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2023.

The Canadian Press

Note to readers: Corrects gold medal winner at 2022 Beijing Olympics in third paragraph.