Canadian speed skater McLean earns bronze for first World Cup medal
Heather McLean of Canada in competes during the women's 500m race at the Speed Skating World Cup in Inzell, Germany, Sunday Dec. 6, 2015. (Tobias Hase/dpa via AP)
The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, December 6, 2015 6:04PM EST
INZELL, Germany -- Winnipeg's Heather McLean won her first career individual medal on the long-track speedskating World Cup circuit on Sunday, taking home a bronze in the women's 500 metres on the last day of the third stage.
Alex Boisvert-Lacroix and Ivanie Blondin each won a silver respectively in the men's 500 and women's mass start to bring Canada's medal todal to five in the weekend-long event. Gilmore Junio won gold and Alexandre St-Jean collected silver on Friday, in the first 500 event.
The national team now has 19 medals for the season, its highest total since it won 21 in 2010-2011.
In the second women's 500 of the weekend, McLean improved on her fourth-place finish from Friday's race with a time of 38.02 seconds. She finished behind Sang-Hwa Lee (37.36) of South Korea and Heather Richardson-Bergsma (37.84) of the United States.
"I'm pretty excited about it. My fourth place on Friday was a bit of a surprise," said McLean. "Today, I had a little bit more pressure. But I knew that if I stayed confident and did what I wanted to do during my race, it could happen."
On the men's side, Boisvert-Lacroix, from Sherbrooke, Que., won his second medal of the season with his 500-metre silver.
Poland's Artur Was won gold in 34.65, followed by Boisvert-Lacroix (34.74) and Kai Verbij (34.80) of the Netherlands.
"Today, the execution was there," Boisvert-Lacroix said. "The big difference this year, also, is that I'm in great shape. I had the best summer of my life in terms of training."
In the mass start, Blondin of Ottawa won a medal for a third straight World Cup. She also finished second in Salt Lake City and won bronze at the first stage of the World Cup season in Calgary.
Blondin (8:18.41) finished only two hundredths of a second behind Irene Schouten (8:18.43) of the Netherlands. Do-Young Park of South Korea won bronze.
"This medal hurts because I was really going for gold," Blondin said. "In the next-to-last straight, I was pushed by a Japanese skater and I think that cost me gold today. At the same time, I really gave it my all in the last straight. Another step and I think I would have nailed it.
"It hurts when you really want gold. Finishing second for the second straight time, it's not a great feeling but at the same time, I'm happy I earned another medal for Canada."