Ivanie Blondin, Vincent De Haître prepare for another shot at Olympic glory

Ivanie Blondin and Vincent De Haître are no strangers to the pressure of the Olympic oval.

The Ottawa speed skaters were both named to Canada's Olympic team this week, four years after competing as first-time Olympians at the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia.

They spoke to the CBC Radio's Giacomo Panico on All in a Day this week about their expectations for next month's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

"I think I'm way more excited than nervous," said Blondin, who's originally from Orléans. "Going into Sochi I was nervous and I didn't know what to expect."

Some help from 'Rocky'

De Haître, who hails from Cumberland, credited his family with giving him the support he needs to succeed — as well as a cinematic source of motivation.

He said he's been turning to the fifth Rocky film for inspiration for his races.

"When you're race-prepping, you have a lot of free time leading into a race sometimes," he said. "Last year, I watched all five Rocky movies going into the trial, and this year I just stuck to the one." 

De Haître is competing in the 1,000 and 1,500-metre races, having won a silver medal in the former event in last season's world single distance championships.

"Being described as a medal contender is something I've always wanted to be described as," he said. "Now that someone had said it, I really want to prove them right."

Brand new event

Blondin will race in the 3,000 and 5,000-metre events, as well as the speed skating mass start, which is making its debut at the Olympics this year. 

The mass start eliminates individual lanes for skaters. Blondin described it as something of a "free-for-all."

"I think it's really going to be a crowd-pleaser," she said. "It's just exciting taking part in a new event."

Blondin will compete alongside fellow Ottawa native Isabelle Weidemann, who is joining Canada's Olympic team for the first time.

Even though 22-year-old Weidemann is a first-time contender, Blondin said she doesn't seem like a rookie. 

"She's super down to earth, and she's got quite a bit of experience under her belt already," she said. 

The team of 10 men and nine women will be competing in 14 total events during the Pyeongchang Olympics, which run from Feb. 10 until Feb. 24.