Speed skating Olympians Blondin, Dubreuil front Canada's long track team for Beijing

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National men's 500-metre record-holder Laurent Dubreuil, left, and two-time Olympian Ivanie Blondin, right, headline Canada's 16-member squad headed to the Winter Games in Beijing in February. (Getty Images/File - image credit)
National men's 500-metre record-holder Laurent Dubreuil, left, and two-time Olympian Ivanie Blondin, right, headline Canada's 16-member squad headed to the Winter Games in Beijing in February. (Getty Images/File - image credit)

Eight men and eight women's speed skaters will attempt to build on Canada's storied long track history at the Olympics that includes 37 medals when they compete next month in Beijing.

Ivanie Blondin, a two-time world champion in the women's mass start, and reigning men's 500-metre world champion Laurent Dubreuil are among nine veteran Winter Games athletes headed to China.

The Canadian squad earned an impressive total of 24 World Cup podium finishes during Olympic qualifying.

"I am heading there with a goal of redemption after my last Olympic Games and a drive to make myself and all Canadians proud," Blondin, who finished fourth in women's team pursuit four years ago in Pyeongchang, South Korea, said in a Speed Skating Canada news release.

"Our team has proven to be resilient, determined and fiercely passionate over the past four years, and we are excited to use those qualities to power our performances on the ice."

WATCH | Dubreuil smashes national record to win gold:

Dubreuil, a consistent medal threat in the sprint distances, broke the national record in the 500 with a time of 33.778 seconds on Dec. 10 at a World Cup in Calgary to mark the seventh consecutive race in which he's reached the podium in the distance.

"Going into my second Olympic Games, I feel honoured to wear the Maple Leaf as I compete with the best in the world," said the native of Levis, Que. "Training has been going very well and the last month at home with my family has helped me recharge my batteries. I'm very excited and up for the challenge."

Bloemen won gold, silver at 2018 Games

Canada's Olympic speed skaters earned their positions based on their rankings from four ISU World Cup events in November and December, where the quota spots for the Canadian contingent were also secured.

Another veteran on the Canadian team is Calgary's Ted-Jan Bloemen, the reigning Olympic champion in the men's
10,000. Bloemen won both of Canada's speed skating medals four years ago in Pyeongchang, also collecting silver in the 5,000.

Isabelle Wiedemann, who tops the World Cup standings in women's distance racing, is a medal contender in team pursuit with Valerie Maltais and Blondin.

Speed Skating Canada has named five non-travelling alternates to the team.

Saskatoon's Todd McClement, Gregor Jelonek of Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly, Que., Mark Wild of Milton, Ont., and Bart Schouten and Remmelt Eldering of the Netherlands are Canada's coaches in Beijing.

Competition starts Feb. 5 with the women's 3,000.

Canada's Olympic long track team

Women

  • Ivanie Blondin, Ottawa — 1,500 metres, 3,000, 5,000, mass start, team pursuit

  • Marsha Hudey, White City, Sask. — 500m

  • Valérie Maltais, Saguenay, Que. — 3,000m, mass start, team pursuit

  • Brooklyn McDougall, Calgary — 500m

  • Heather McLean, Winnipeg — 500m

  • Maddison Pearman, Ponoka, Alta. — 1,000m, 1500

  • Alexa Scott, Clandeboye, Man. — 1,000m, team pursuit

  • Isabelle Weidemann, Ottawa — 3,000m, 5000, team pursuit

Men

  • Jordan Belchos, Scarborough, Ont. — mass start, team pursuit

  • Ted-Jan Bloemen, Calgary — 5,000m, 10,000, team pursuit

  • Laurent Dubreuil, Lévis, Que. — 500m, 1,000

  • Graeme Fish, Moose Jaw, Sask. — 10,000m

  • Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu, Sherbrooke, Que. — 1,000m, mass start

  • Connor Howe, Canmore, Alta. — 1,000m, 1,500, team pursuit

  • Tyson Langelaar, Winnipeg — 1,500m, team pursuit

  • Gilmore Junio, Calgary — 500m

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