2:30 p.m., Dec. 11)
Speedskating trio qualify for Winter Olympics
By Fred Sherwin
pair of local speed skaters are heading back to the Olympics
where they will be joined by an Olympic rookie from Orléans
after all three athletes met the pre-Olympic qualifying
standards during the first four events of the World Cup
Blondin, Vincent de Häitre and Isabelle Weidemann will
get to share the Olympic experience together thanks to
their results in the final World Cup event in Salt Lake
City on the weekend.
managed to qualify in her specialty, the mass start as
well as the 3000, 5000 and team pursuit events. De Häitre
did the same in the 1000 metres and Weidemann will join
Blondin on the women’s pursuit team.
qualified for the Mass Start by virtue of her sixth place
finish in the event in Salt Lake City which placed her
sixth overall in the World Cup standings. The top 16 all
prequalified for the Mass Start in Pyeongchang.
also finished fourth in the 3000 metres in Salt Lake City,
placing her fourth in the overall standings and inside
the top five who all met the prequalification standard
for the Olympics.
qualified for the 5000 metres earlier in the season when
she added a silver medal over the distance in Stavanger,
Norway, to the bronze medal she won at the World Single
Distance Championships last year.
spot on the women’s pursuit team was solidified on Saturday
when she and Weidemann were joined by Keri Morrison from
Burlington in placing fifth in the event and third in
the overall standings.
should also qualify for the Olympics in the 5000 metres
as long as she finishes in the top two in the event at
the Canadian Long Track Team Selections being held Jan.
4-9 in Calgary.
Häitre is as close to a shoe-in to make the Olympic team
as you can get. His naming to the squad should be little
more than a formality after placing third in the overall
World Cup standings in the 1000 metre and seventh in the
1500 metres, just five points out of the top five.
Cumberland resident is an Olympic medal hopeful by virtue
of his silver medal performance in the 1000 metres at
the World Single Distance Championships last year, where
he also placed fourth in the 1500.
and de Häitre are both eager to get back to the Olympics
where they will seek to improve on their rookie performances
four years ago in Socchi.
finished a disappointing 24th in the 3000 metres and 14th
in the 5000. De Häitre fared even worse, placing 20th
in the 1000 metres and 33rd in the 1500.
skaters are four years older and have a number of recent
successes they can draw upon as the skate for gold, silver
and bronze in Pyeongchang.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)
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