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(Posted:11:30 a.m., Feb. 22)
Ivanie Blondin completes first Olympic experience on a high note

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Orléans native Ivanie Blondin is looking forward to Sunday's closing ceremonies in Sochi after helping Canada's women's pursuit team beat the United States to place fifth in the event. File photo

Orléans' Olympian Ivanie Blondin completed her Olympics on a high note Saturday by helping Canada's women's long track pursuit team beat the U.S. to finish in fifth place.

Blondin joined teammates Brittany Schussler and Kali Christ in completing six laps of the Sochi Olympic oval in 3:02.04, as the fourth member of the team, Christine Nesbitt, cheered them on.

The Canadians were the victims of an unlucky quarterfinal draw which saw them skate against the Russian team. Although they lost the match-up, the Canadians put down the third fastest time of the session. Only the eventual gold medal team from the Netherlands and the Russians who would go on to win bronze skated faster than them.

And of the eight teams that competed for medals and Olympic rankings on Saturday, the Canadians still put down the fourth fastest time behind the Netherlands, Russia and Poland which skated a 3:00.60 against Russia in the semi-finals.

For Blondin, who had an up and down result in her individual races, it was a satisfying way to end her first Olympic experience. The 23-year-old Garneau high school grad, placed a very respectable 24th in the 3,000 metres, but failed to match the success she had at last year's World Single Distance Championships in Sochi in the 5,000 metres.

Last year, she finished in eighth place with a time of 7:13.16. Skating on the same oval on Wednesday she placed 14th with a time of 7:20.10.

All in all it was a wonderful experience for someone whose future in long track speed skating is still ahead of her. For now she will be able to let down her hair and join her teammates in Sunday's closing ceremony with dreams of competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea swirling in her head.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

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