2018 Olympic Speed Skating Preview

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Olympic Speed Skating
ERFURT, GERMANY - JANUARY 20: Ted-Jan Bloemen of Canada competes in the men 5000m Division A race during Day 2 of the ISU World Cup Speed Skating at Gunda-Niemann-Stirnemann-Halle on January 20, 2018 in Erfurt, Germany. (Photo by Christof Koepsel - ISU/ISU via Getty Images)

Ted-Jan Bloemen was not a notable name in the world of speed skating when he came to live in Canada in 2014. There was no problem in Bloemen getting Canadian citizenship because his father was born in Bathurst, New Brunswick.

A specialist in the long-distance events, Bloemen is a serious medal contender for Canada in the men’s 5000m, 10000m and team pursuit. In the last 25 years when Canada has had an immense amount of success in long track speed skating, there has never been a Canadian speed skater that has challenged for the Olympic podium in the men’s 10000m until now.

One could argue that the 10000m speed skating event and the 50km cross-country skiing event are the Olympic Winter Games’ version of the marathon. It takes an immense amount of endurance and tenacity just to get through those events, and it is even more impressive when athletes compete with speed.

2018 Olympic Speed Skating Preview

Bloemen enters the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang as the current world record holder in the men’s 5000m (6:01.86) and the men’s 10000m (12:36.30). However, it should be noted that he broke both world records in Salt Lake City, where the altitude allows competitors to skate fast.

Bloemen finished fourth in the men’s 10000m and fifth in the men’s 5000m at the 2017 ISU World Single Distance Speed Skating Championships in Pyeongchang. He enters the Olympic Winter Games with 17 World Cup medals and is expected to be one of the very few Olympic multi-medalists for Canada.

Bloemen’s biggest challenge should come from Sven Kramer of the Netherlands. Kramer is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and 19-time champion at the World Single Distance Speed Skating Championships.

Women’s Speed Skating Hopes

Another long distance speed skater that will be a strong medal contender is Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa. Blondin is looking to follow in the footsteps of Canadian legends Cindy Klassen and Clara Hughes and will have the opportunity to compete in an event that was not available to either of them when they were Olympians. The mass start competition will be making its Olympic return in Pyeongchang for the first time since the 1932 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid.  An event that resembles short track speed skating, in the mass start all competitors are on the ice at the same time and are able to gain points at various stages of the race. Blondin enters the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang with a third-place finish in the 2017 World Cup standings in the mass start.

In addition to the mass start, Blondin is a medal contender in the women’s 3000m, 5000m and the team pursuit. In the women’s 3000m, she was fourth in the World Championship and is fourth in the 2018 World Cup standings. In the women’s 5000m, Blondin won the bronze medal at the 2017 World Single Distance Speed Skating Championship and is second in the 2018 World Cup standings.

Sprint Events

In the men’s sprint events, Alex Boisvert-Lacroix of Sherbrooke, Quebec won two World Cup events this season in the men’s 500m. The wins, which came in a span of six days, were both in North America—in Calgary on December 3 and in Salt Lake City on December 8. Boisvert-Lacroix is currently in second in the 2018 World Cup standings behind Havard Holmefjord Lorentzen of Norway.

Meanwhile in the men’s 1000m, Vincent De Haitre of Ottawa had a marvelous 2017 as he placed second at the 2017 World Single Distance Speed Skating Championships and the 2017 World Cup standings behind Kjeld Nuis of the Netherlands each time. In 2017-18, De Haitre has been in contention for a podium spot throughout the World Cup season, with his best result a fourth in Calgary.

Team Canada should be very competitive in the team pursuit competitions as well. One could argue that the Canadian men’s team at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang is stronger than the team that surprised many when winning gold at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. The addition of Bloemen adds an incredible amount of stability to a team that will also be counting on the experience of Denny Morrison. Blondin will lead the women’s team, who will look to rebound after disappointing fifth place finishes at the last two Olympic Winter Games.

Speed Skating Predictions

Men’s 500m Prediction

GOLD—Ronald Mulder—Netherlands
SILVER—Dai Dai Ntab—Netherlands
BRONZE—Ruslan Murashhov—Olympic Athletes of Russia
Event: Feb. 19 @ 6:53 am ET/3:53 am PT

Men’s 1000m Prediction
GOLD—Kjeld Nuis—Netherlands
SILVER—Havard Holmefjord Lorentzen—Norway
BRONZE—Vincent De Haitre—Canada
Event: Feb. 23 @ 5am ET/2am PT

Men’s 1500m Prediction
GOLD—Koen Verweij—Netherlands
SILVER—Allan Dahl Johansson—Norway
BRONZE—Joey Mantia—United States
Event: Feb. 13 @ 5am ET/2am P

Men’s 5000m Prediction
GOLD—Sven Kramer—Netherlands
SILVER—Ted-Jan Bloemen—Canada
BRONZE—Patrick Beckert—Germany
Event: Feb.11 @ 2am ET/Feb. 10 @ 11pm PT

Men’s 10000m Prediction
GOLD—Sven Kramer—Netherlands
SILVER—Jorrit Bergsma–Netherlands
BRONZE—Ted-Jan Bloemen—Canada
Event: Feb. 15 @ 6am ET/3am PT

Men’s Mass Start Prediction
GOLD—Seung-Hoon Lee—South Korea
SILVER—Joey Mantia—United States
BRONZE—Bart Swings–Belgium
Event (for finals): Feb. 24 @ 8am ET/5am PT

Men’s Team Pursuit Prediction 
GOLD—Norway
SILVER—New Zealand
BRONZE—Netherlands
Event (for finals): Feb. 21 @ 7:13 am ET/4:13 am PT

Women’s 500m Prediction
GOLD—Nao Kodaira—Japan
SILVER—Karolina Erbanova—Czech Republic
BRONZE—Sang-Hwa Lee—South Korea
Event: Feb. 18 @ 6:56 am ET/3:56 am PT

Women’s 1000m Prediction
GOLD—Nao Kodaira—Japan
SILVER—Heather Bergsma—United States
BRONZE—Marrit Leenstra—Netherlands
Event: Feb. 14 @ 5am ET/2am PT

Women’s 1500m Prediction 
GOLD—Marrit Leenstra—Netherlands
SILVER—Miho Takagi—Japan
BRONZE—Ireen Wust—Netherlands
Event: Feb. 12 @ 7:30am ET/4:30am PT

Women’s 3000m Prediction
GOLD—Martina Sablikova—Czech Republic
SILVER—Antoinette De Jong—Netherlands
BRONZE—Ivanie Blondin—Canada
Event: Feb. 10 @ 6am ET/3am PT

Women’s 5000m Prediction
GOLD–Martina Sablikova—Czech Republic
SILVER—Claudia Pechstein—Germany
BRONZE—Irene Schouten—Netherlands
Event: Feb. 16 @ 6am ET/3am PT 

Women’s Mass Start Prediction
GOLD—Francesca Lollobrigida—Italy
SILVER—Bo-Reum Kim—South Korea
BRONZE—Dan Guo—China
Event (for finals): Feb. 24 @ 7:30am ET/4:30am PT

Women’s Team Pursuit Prediction
GOLD—Japan
SILVER—Netherlands
BRONZE—Germany
Event (for finals): Feb. 21 @ 6:54am ET/3:54 am PT

 
Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

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