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Cumnberland Township Agriculture Socirty (CTAS) annual general meeting


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(Posted 2:30 p.m., Nov. 13)
Speed skating duo wins five medals at opening World Cup meet

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Orléans native Ivanie Blondin and Vincent de Haître from Cumberland took an important first step in their bid to qualify for the Winter Olympics on the weekend. File photos

Orléans native Ivanie Blondin and Cumberland's own Vincent de Haître took an important first step in their quest for Olympic qualification on the weekend, combining for five medals at a World Cup meet in rhe Netherlands.

Blondin won two individual medals in the Mass Start and the 3000-metres and combined with teammates Isabelle Wiedemann, Josie Morrison and Keri Morrison to win a bronze medal in the team pursuit.

De Haître finished second in the men's 1500-metres and combined with Laurent Dubrieul and Alexandre St. Jean to capture gold in the team sprint event.

Skating in her specialty, the Mass Start, Blondin was nipped at the line by Ayano Sato from Japan who won by .04 seconds.

“I felt strong and I felt confident, especially after recovering from a fall like I did in the semifinal (Friday),” said Blondin. “I was calm and collected before the race, which was a little strange considering it was the first race of the season and that this is also an Olympic year. My result today shows that I'll be solid again in the mass start this season, and that I'll be up to the task looking ahead to the Olympics!”

Her third place finish in the 3000-metres is also a good sign for the year ahead.

“I wasn't sure I had it in me today after skating in a total of four races Friday and Saturday. But I had a perfect pairing, I was skating with someone who is kind of my mass start nemesis, Irene Schouten,” said Blondin about the Dutch skater, who came in fifth with a time of 4:05.41. “We both brought out each other's compete level today,"

De Haître surprised everyone, including himself with a silver medal performance in the 1500-metres. The Cumberland native had won multiple medals in the 1000-metres in the past, but this is his first World Cup medal at the longer distance.

“It is really motivating and big boost of confidence to start the season with a World Cup podium,” said de Haître. “I'm happy with my race. I was able to stay relaxed and to keep putting pressure into the ice. Today was a step in the right direction, towards the improvements and changes I plan on making in the coming (1500m) races.”

The Heerenveen World Cup is the first of four Olympic qualifying events to be held over the next five weeks. The top five athletes in the combined standings in each event will automatically qualify for the Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea in February.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)




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