NAGANO, Japan - Canadians Ivanie Blondin and Jordan Belchos won mass start gold medals Friday at a World Cup speedskating event.
Belchos's gold was the first for a Canadian male in the event, and it was the first time Canada earned a medal in both men's and women's mass start events at the same World Cup stop.
Belchos, from Toronto, broke away from the pack of 16 skaters with three laps remaining. He crossed the line in a time of seven minutes 53.990. Joey Mantia of the United States finished second and Belgian Bart Swings was third.
“The mass start is a race where it's so hard to predict what's going to happen, so I try to go in with a bit of a plan and stick to it,” Belchos said. “My plan today was to be patient and wait for the right moment to make an attack. I got away and just held on until the finish. I always think it's cool to be on the podium with guys who you respect a lot, so standing with Bart and Joey was special.”
Antoine Gelinas-Beaulieu of Sherbrooke, Que., finished 14th.
Blondin fought her way through a crowded race and won the sprint on the final straight to finish ahead of Nana Takagi of Japan and American Mia Kilburg-Manganello. The Ottawa native captured her second gold and third consecutive medal in the mass start this season with a time of 8:26.440 and retained her position atop the World Cup ranking.
“I was really confident out there and felt like today was going to be a good day. Coming off last weekend, it's hard to not be confident and I carried that through to a great race today,” said Blondin, who picked up three gold medals at last week's World Cup stop in Kazakhstan.
In the final event of the day, Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (Sherbrooke, Que.), Tyson Langelaar (Winnipeg) and David La Rue (Saint-Lambert, Que.) earned a bronze medal in the men's team sprint. Russia won gold and Japan took silver.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 13, 2019.