Volume 12 Week 5

Monday, Nov. 19


 

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(Posted 8:30 a.m., Feb. 9)
Local Olympians looking forward to competing jn PyeongChang

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Ivanie Blondin and Vincent de Haître are just two of the athletes from Orleans who have aspirations of winning a medal in PyeongChang. File photo

With the opening ceremonies out of the way, a quartet of athletes with links to Orléans are poised to compete in the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea over the next two weeks with hopes of winning a medal.

Ivanie Blondin, Vincent de Haître, Isabelle Weidemann and Rachel Homan will all get to share the Olympic experience as competition was set to kick-off on Feb. 9.

Blondin, De Haître and Weidemann will be competing in long track speed skating, while Homan will carry the hopes of a curling nation on her shoulders as she aims for a possible gold medal in her sport.

Blondin will compete in the mass start, which makes its Olympic debut in PyeongChang, the 3000-metres, the 5000-metres, and the team pursuit.

“At my first Olympic Games, I felt like I was just starting out and you are always mesmerized by the grandeur of the event. I learned a lot from Sochi and now I’m more focused on the process instead of the end results,” said Blondin. “I’m now looking to pursue the performance I have proved I’m able to deliver in the past few years.”

Blondin recently won the 3000-metre final in the World Cup event in Erfurt, Germany and is a former World Cup champion in the mass start.

De Haître will compete in his specialty the 1000-metres, as well as the 1500-metres and the team pursuit. De Haître won both the 1000-metre and 1500-metre events at the Canadian Olympic Team selection meetin January

The Cumberland resident is an Olympic medal hopeful by virtue of his silver medal performance in the 1000 metres at the World Single Distance Championships last year, where he also placed fourth in the 1500.

Weidemann will be competing in both the 5000- and 3000-metre events in Korea after winning the 5000-metres at the Team Selection meet and finishing second to Blondin in the 3000.

“(The 5000-metres) is my specialty and the one I do the best in,” says the Orléams resident. “So qualifying in this one is really exciting for me. Going into the Games knowing this is my event is satisfying and that is what I came in to do.”

Blondin and De Haître are both eager to get back to the Olympics where they will seek to improve on their rookie performances four years ago in Socchi. Blondin finished a disappointing 24th in the 3000 metres and 14th in the 5000.

De Haître fared even worse, placing 20th in the 1000 metres and 33rd in the 1500. Both skaters are four years older and have a number of recent successes they can draw upon as they skate for gold, silver and bronze in PyeongChang.

Homan, who is the reigning Canadian and World Champion, will be competing in her very first Olympics after winning the Roar of the Rings Olympic qualifying event in front of a hometown crowd at the Canadian Tire Centre in December.

The curling competition kicks off on Feb. 14. In the meantime the speed skaters will see action over the next five days starting at 6 a.m. EST on Saturday, Feb. 10 when Ivanie Blondin will be gunning for a medal in the women's 3000-metres. She will also be competing in the team pursuit event on Wednesday, Feb. 21 and the mass start on Monday, Nov. 19 .

De Haître's first event is the 1500-metres on Tuesday, Feb. 13 which will take place at 6 a.m. EST. He will also be competing in the men's team pursuit on Feb. 21 and the 1000-metres on Monday, Nov. 19 at 5 a.m. EST.

Weidemann will be competing in the 3000-metres and team pursuit with Blondin, as well as the women's 5000-metres which will take place on Friday, Feb. 16 at 6 a.m. EST.

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

 

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