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Canada sets Olympic record en route to speed skating gold medal in women’s team pursuit

Canada’s Isabelle Weidemann, Ivanie Blondin and Valérie Maltais set a new Olympic record to win the gold medal in women’s team pursuit in long track speed skating in Beijing.

Team Canada’s Isabelle Weidemann, Valerie Maltais and Ivanie Blondin (left to right) react after winning the gold medal and setting an Olympic record in the speedskating women’s team pursuit finals on Tuesday in Beijing.(Ashley Landis/The Associated Press)

Canada’s Isabelle Weidemann, Ivanie Blondin and Valérie Maltais set a new Olympic record to win the gold medal in women’s team pursuit in long track speed skating in Beijing.

The Canadians beat defending Olympic champion Japan’s Ayano Sato, Miho Tagaki and Nana Tagaki in Tuesday’s dramatic final at the National Speed Skating Oval. Canada posted a time of two minutes and 53.44 seconds, while Japan finished in 3.04.47.

Japan enjoyed a slender lead with a half lap to go but Nana Takagi lost her balance coming through the final turn and crashed into the padding, allowing Canada to cruise to the win. Takagi was in tears after crossing the finish line, and was immediately consoled by her sister Miho Takagi and Sato.

Weidemann, a 26-year-old from Ottawa, leads all Canadian athletes in medals at the 2022 Olympics, having previously won the individual silver and bronze in the 5,000m and 3,000m. She becomes only the second Canadian long track speedskater to win more than two medals at a single Olympics. Cindy Klassen won five in 2006 in Turin, Italy.

This is the first time that Canada has won an Olympic gold in women’s team pursuit. It previously won silver in the event when it made its Olympic debut at the 2006 Games.

Overall, Canada now has 17 medals in Beijing: two gold, four silver and 11 bronze.

The Japanese team set a new Olympic record last weekend during the quarter-finals by clocking in at 2:53.61.

The Canadians beat the Netherlands’ Ireen Wust, Irene Schouten and Antoinette de Jong in the semifinals earlier on Tuesday, while Japan cruised to victory over the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC).

Canada was aiming for an Olympic gold medal in Beijing after losing to the Netherlands in the finals of last year’s world championships.

Tuesday’s gold medal also comes in the aftermath of the Canadian team completing a perfect 2021-22 World Cup season that saw them win all three races.

Also on Tuesday, the Netherlands beat ROC to take the bronze medal in the women’s team pursuit.

Earlier this week, Canada finished fifth in the men’s team pursuit with a time of three minutes 40.18 seconds, failing to qualify for the semifinal round.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Molinaro is one of the leading soccer journalists in Canada, having covered the game for over 20 years for a number of media outlets, including CBC Sports, Sportsnet and Sun Media. During his time at CBC Sports, John travelled to South Africa to cover the 2010 FIFA World Cup for CBCSports.ca. Beijing 2022 will be his fourth Olympics. He is currently the editor-in-chief of TFC Republic, a website dedicated to in-depth coverage of the Canadian game.

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Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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