Laurent Dubreuil wins silver at world sprint speed skating championships

CBC

Canada's Laurent Dubreuil picked up a silver medal Saturday at the ISU world sprint/allround speed skating championships in Hamar, Norway by finishing second in the overall standings behind Japan's Tatsuya Shinhama. Min Kyu Cha of Korea won bronze.

The 27-year-old Levis, Que., native is just the fourth Canadian to reach the podium in the 50-year history of the event, and the first since Jeremy Wotherspoon in 2008. Gaétan Boucher and Mike Ireland are the only other Canadians to achieve the feat.

"My two 500m and my 1000m today were exceptional races for me," Dubreuil said. "I was able to manage everything around me to finish second at the world sprint championships, my favourite competition and the hardest and more stressful competition of the season, by far."

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Dubreuil finished the men's 500-metre race in 34.56 seconds, with only Shinhama (34.39) finishing ahead of him.

The 1,000 race had a tight finish with Dubreuil posting a time of one minute 8.39 seconds, just behind Dutch skater Kjeld Nuis (1:08.38). Shinhama improved his total by finishing third (1:08.71).

Dubreuil finished first in the 500 and fifth in the 1,000 on Friday.

WATCH | Laurent Dubreuil races to silver in Hamar, Norway:

"I am really happy with my races," Dubreuil said. "I didn't have the best night of sleep. We finished racing late last night and woke up early this morning, which combined with the stress made for a tough night. But I knew it wouldn't affect my races today."

Fellow Canadian skater Tyson Langelaar notched a second-place finish on Saturday with a time of 36.29 seconds in the 500-metre men's allround competition. The 5,000 allround saw Toronto native Jordan Belchos secure a third-place finish with a time of six minutes 20.76 seconds, while Dutch-Canadian Ted-Jan Bloemen (6:22.82) finished fifth. Dutch skater Patrick Roest currently sits atop the men's allround standings.

Blondin sits 2nd in women's allround

Canadian Ivanie Blondin currently sits second in the women's allround standings through two races, with an eighth-place finish in the 500 and second-place finish in the 3,000. The Ottawa native is currently behind Ireen Wüst of the Netherlands.

"It's pretty incredible to be sitting in second right now, I'm definitely excited, but there's still a lot of racing to do tomorrow so I'm trying to keep a level head," Blondin said. 

WATCH | Ivanie Blondin secures second overall at speed skating worlds:

Kaylin Irvine of Calgary finished the world sprint championships as the top-ranked Canadian woman by securing a ninth-place result, the best of her career.

"I am ecstatic!," Irvine said. "I had a goal after last season at world sprints – I wanted to come top-12. I thought I could adjust that goal to a top-10 earlier this year, but I haven't been as strong in my 1000m as I wanted to be. I definitely had probably my best performances of the year here, which honestly is a little bit surprising as I've been recovering from a flu the past couple weeks."

Other Canadian competitors in the women's sprint portion included Winnipeg's Heather McLean and Abigail McCluskey of Penticton, B.C., who finished 15th and 21st in the standings, respectively.

The Allround portion of the competition continues into Sunday.

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