Bloemen, Weidemann victorious on 1st day of Canadian long track speed skating trials

Canadian long track speed skaters made their return to Calgary’s Olympic Oval on Wednesday for the first day of national trials, where four champions including Olympic gold medallist Ted-jan Bloemen and rising star Isabelle Weidemann were crowned.

Bloemen, 35, cruised to victory in the 5,000 metres with a time of six minutes 6.69 seconds, well ahead of second-place Graeme Fish at 6:13.31 and third-place Jordan Belchos at 6:18.94.

Bloemen, a Dutch Canadian who began competing for Canada in 2014, won silver in the event at the 2018 Olympics after setting a world record of 6:01.86 in the distance at the 2017 world championships.

Fish, a 24-year-old from Moose Jaw, Sask., made his international debut at 2020 worlds, beating the Olympic champion Bloemen for gold in the 10,000 while settling for bronze in the 5,000.

Both skaters appear poised to climb multiple podiums at the 2022 Olympics, which begin on Feb. 4.

Weidemann, meanwhile, is on a revenge tour after her Pyeongchang experience went somewhat sideways with a fourth-place finish in the team pursuit to go with sixth- and seventh-place finishes in individual races.

But the Ottawa native topped a strong field in the 3,000 on Wednesday, crossing the finish line in 3:56.89. Ivanie Blondin, 31, placed second at 3:59.99 while Valerie Maltais was third at 4:01.23.

The Canadian 1,500 record-holder Blondin, like Weidemann, is looking to enter Beijing strong after placing fourth, fifth and sixth in various 2018 events.

Fellow 2018 Olympian Laurent Dubreuil was victorious in the men’s 500 with his time of 34.12 seconds, less than one-tenth of a tick off Jeremy Wotherspoon’s national record. Gilmore Junio (34.59) and Cedrick Brunet (34.97) were the only other skaters to crack the 35-second mark.

Dubreuil, a 29-year-old from Levis, Que., finished 18th in the event in Pyeongchang after taking bronze at the 2015 single distance championships.

Finally, 23-year-old Brooklyn McDougall held off Marsha Hudey, 31, by hundredths of a second to take the women’s 500 crown with a time of 37.851 seconds. Hudey was just behind at 37.856, with Kaylin Irvine placing third at 37.93.

Live coverage from Calgary continues on on Thursday at 6 p.m. ET with the women’s 5,000 and men’s 10,000.

WATCH | Day 1 of the long track national championships:

Canadian Long Track Championships

Catch all the action from the 2021 Canadian long track speed skating championships in Calgary. 3:13:34

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