Blondin overcomes illness to win World Cup silver in Nagano
Ivanie Blondin stood on the World Cup podium for the second straight weekend in the mass start after taking silver at the long track speed skating stop in Nagano, Japan.
Her effort was especially impressive considering she had been battling a virus this week that forced her to withdraw from the 1000m and 3000m races.
“A podium is a podium and I’m really happy about the silver,” said Blondin, who had won the mass start a week ago. “I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do it today because of how sick I’ve been all week.”
The podium actually included the same three women as in Harbin, only the order of finish changed. Korean Kim Bo-Reum took the gold medal by 0.27 of a second ahead of Blondin, who crossed the finish line 0.13 of a second ahead of Italy’s Francesca Lollobrigida.
At the final bell there had been about 10 women in contention for the win, but as she entered the final turn, Kim made a major attack to give her the gold medal.
“The whole race was a bit of a gong show and I made some mistakes,” Blondin added, having been fifth with one lap to go. “Bo-Reum had an amazing sprint, she did well and just beat me today. But considering how I was feeling, I’m pretty happy.”
Blondin continues to lead the mass start World Cup standings with 180 points with Kim just behind with 170 points and Lollobrigida third with 150 points.
In other events, Marsha Hudey posted her third fourth place finish in three World Cup 500m races this season. Hudey crossed the line in 38.04 seconds, just 0.07 off the podium. Japan’s Nao Kodaira took the win in 37.75 seconds, with Korean world record holder Lee Sang-Hwa (37.93) second and China’s Yu Jing (37.97) third.
“It was a great opportunity considering my pair today, because Sang-Hwa Lee is such an exceptional skater,” said Hudey, who had the fastest start time of 10.40 seconds. “I just wanted to make most of the opportunity and try to put together the most beautiful race I could.”
“I’m happy with the consistency I’ve shown in my racing so far. It shows to what extent I’ve been working on certain things and it gives me confidence every time I step on the line,” she added.