9:30 a.m., Feb. 23)
of local Olympian couldn't be prouder of daughter's accomplishments
By Fred Sherwin
Bob and Lise Blondin pose with a banner presented
to them in commemoration of their daughter
Ivanie's participation in the 2014 Winter
Olympics. Fred Sherwin/Photo
Robert and Lise Blondin watched their daughter Ivanie
compete in her final event at the Sochi Winter Olympics
on Saturday, they did so with a sense of pride that comes
with knowing the hard work and dedication it took to see
what was once a childhood dream come true.
she was eight or nine she did a project on Myriam Bedard
and at the end she wrote that her dream was to one day
compete in the Olympics," recalls Bob Blondin.
started skating when she was barely able to walk. Her
first pair of skates were hand-me-downs she had found
in the basement. She simply strapped them on and started
skating without the benefit of a single lesson.
Ivanie was five, her parents enrolled her in the Gloucester
Skating Club's Can-Skate program. She was a natural, but
there was only one teensy tiny problem, she preferred
speeding around the ice to doing figures. Before long,
Ivanie's figure skating instructor suggested she might
be better off with the Gloucester Concordes Speed Skating
Club. Her parents took the instructor's advice and the
rest, as they say is history.
excelled in short track speed skating through her formative
years and won multiple provincial and national titles.
She was on track to achieve her dream of one day competing
in the Olympics.
making the national development team in 2008, Ivanie set
her sights on the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Unfortunetely,
Ivanie's dream turned into a nightmare amd for a variety
of reasons she wasn;t able to make the team. Instead of
living out her dream, she could only watch on TV.
and upset, Ivanie was ready to walk away from the sport
she loved. Fortunately there were others who still believed
her dream could come true including on of the coaches
with the national long track program who was able to talk
Ivanie into switching disciplines.
journey from backyard rink to Olympic speed skating ovel
has not been an easy one., but throgh it all Ivanie's
parents have been there to support her, even when it meant
staying in Canada rather than traveling to Sochi to cheer
decision wasn't that difficult to be honest with you,"
says Bob Blondin. "First, there wasn't a lot of time
to get visas and make all the plans. And second, she was
worried about our safety."
was so happy that we didn't go. She didn't want to worry
about us. It was a relief for us too, because we didn't
have to go through all the preparation in getting the
visas and everything."
also helped that Ivanie was joined in Sochi by fellow
Gloucester Concordes member and east end resident Vincent
de Haitre whose parents also chose to stay in Canada.
Blondins watched their daughrer's frist event at home
with a few friends and Ivanie's cockatoo, Gizmo, which
they've been babysitting for the past three monhs.
their daughter step up to the line for the 3,000 metres
was extremely emotional for both parents.
was really overwhelming, to see your daughter realize
her dream and knowing how hard she worked for it. We were
so proud," says Bob Blondin. "But at the same
time we did notice how nervous she was. Just looking at
her on the ice she looked a little overwhelemed."
ended up finishing a very respectable 24th in a very large
field. For her second race on Thursday, the Blondins were
joined by about 40 supporters at Broadways Bar and Grill
on Innes Road.
finished 14th out of 16 competitors who were able to qualiy
for the even. Shortly after the race, the Blondins got
a surprising video call from their daughter.
called us on the phone and we held it up so that everyone
could see her," says Bob.
gang gathered at Broadways once again early Saturday morning
to see Ivanie compete in her final event, the women's
team pursuit. Although they ended up placing fifth, they
had the third fastest time among the eight teams in the
event, afeat that would have landed them the bronze medal
in either a World Cup or the World Championships.
just like that, Ivanie's Olympic experience was over,
or at least the compettition part of it was over. She
still plans to take part in today's closing ceremonies.
home her parents will be looking for one last glimpse
of their daughter before she heads off for two more World
Cup events and the World Single Distance Championships.
If all goes well they will get to see her in person in
for the future. It looks very bright indeed. With Bob
retiring on Jan. 31. the Blondins are looking forward
to going to a few World Cup events as Ivanie begins another
four year cycle in preparation for the next Olympics in
Pyeongchang, South Korea.
going to be there for sure," says Bob with a twinkle
in his eye.
story was made possible thanks to their generous support
of our local business
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