Canada's Ivanie Blondin, Isabelle Weidemann, and Valérie Maltais teamed up for a silver medal in the women's team pursuit on Sunday at a World Cup speed skating event in Nagano, Japan. It also secured Canada the first-place ranking in the World Cup standings for the event.
The three Canadians crossed the line in two minutes, 57.811 seconds. Japan won the event in 2:56.371 while Russia took bronze in 3:02.396.
Canada beat the previous track record but still fell short of claiming gold. Yet, the Canadians are proud of what they accomplished in Japan.
"I'm really excited about our results today. I think they show that we have been very consistent over the World Cup season and that our team is strong," Weidemann said. "I was a bit disappointed with my race yesterday; even though I had the bronze medal, I was hoping to be a little bit closer to first place.
WATCH | Blondin, Weidemann and Maltais skate to silver:
"I've got a lot of work to do over the next couple of months leading into the last World Cups and world championships. I'm excited to go home and do some training to fine tune the little things that will make a difference."
Although they are happy with their performance they know they can be better and look to build off this race heading into the world championships.
"With each team pursuit that we've done this year, we have worked to improve and I think today we put that into practice very well. There are still little details that we need to work on – like our start and making our exchanges a bit more synchronized – but overall we skated a very good race," Maltais said.
"We gave everything that we had today. We know that we aren't far behind the Japanese and we can already see that it's possible to beat them at the world championships."
Meanwhile, Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, Que., skated to a time of 1:09.116 to earn a career best fourth-place result in the men's 1000m. The Quebec native also did that with a bad back as after the race he said "my back hasn't been in top shape this week, but it has been getting better by the day. I knew that my legs would be ready today, it was just a question of whether my back would allow me to move well enough."
Ted-Jan Bloemen also claimed fourth-place in the men's 5,000m with a time of 6:20.029, which served as his highest finish this season.