Bloemen wins 5,000 gold at single distance speedskating championships

SALT LAKE CITY — Calgary’s Ted-Jan Bloemen won gold in the men’s 5,000-metres Thursday at the world single distance speedskating championships.

Bloemen finished in a time of six minutes 4.375 seconds at the Utah Olympic Oval to edge Dutch legend Sven Kramer by 0.54 seconds. Bloemen set the world record in the discipline in a time of 6:01.86 at the same track on Dec. 10, 2017. He took the silver medal in the 5,000 at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, finishing behind Kramer.

The Canadian had not made a podium since the Olympics, however.

“It feels amazing to be world champion, especially after two years of struggling to compete with the best in the world,” said Bloemen. “Going into this competition, I felt like I could win again. To be back in the mix at the right time, at the world championships, is really cool.

“I’ve had a great team, great training partners and my coaches have been relentless in getting me back on track and keeping my eyes forward. We did this together.”

Graeme Fish of Moose Jaw, Sask., was third in 6:06.328. Toronto’s Jordan Belchos was fifth.

It was the first world title for Bloemen, a rising star who won gold in the 10,000 metres at the Pyeongchang Games.

“Going into the season, I made this race really important for myself,” Bloemen said. “Working toward the Olympics in two years is so far away, so you’ve got to set goals along the way. This oval for me is really special. I skated two world records here and I thought that might be a possibility again today.”

In the men’s team sprint, Gilmore Junio (Calgary), Laurent Dubreuil (Levis, Que.), Alexandre St-Jean (Quebec City) and Antoine Gelinas-Beaulieu (Sherbrooke, Que.) were disqualified after initially appearing to win the race. The Netherlands took gold, followed by China and Norway.

Ottawa’s Ivanie Blondin was the top Canadian in the women’s 3,000 metres, finishing sixth in a personal-best time of 3:57.56. Ottawa’s Isabelle Weidemann was 10th and Valerie Maltais of Saguenay, Que., was 12th.

Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic finished first, followed by Carlijn Achtereekte of the Netherlands and Natalia Voronina of Russia.

Sablikova, a three-time Olympic gold medallist , won a world championship in Utah for the second time. She won gold in the 3,000 and 5,000 at the 2007 World Championships.

“In two years, nobody knows what is going to happen,” Sablikova said. “But I’m enjoying this moment and this medal. Now I can think about the Winter Olympics.”

The Netherlands set a world record in women’s team sprint, finishing in 1:24.02. Russia and Poland finished second and third, respectively.

The previous record was 1:24.84, set by Russia in 2017.

—With files from The Associated Press

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 13, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story, reflecting disqualification of Canadian sprint team

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