Cumberland speedskater wins first ever World Cup gold medal

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Cumberland speedskater Vincent de Haître won his first ever individual gold medal in international competition on Saturday, coming in first place in the 1000-metres at the World Cup in Astana, Kazahkstan.

Cumberland speedskater Vincent de Haître (centre) won his first ever individual gold medal in international competition on Sarturday, coming in first place in the 1000-metres at a World Cup event in Astana Kazahkstan. Photo supplied

De Haître, 22, had to beat reigning World Cup champion Pavel Kulizhnikov on his to the top of the podium, which made his victory that much more satisfying. His best result on the international stage before this weekend's World Cup event was a thrid place finish in the 1000-metres at the World Cup Finals last year.

“It's still sinking in,” de Haître said after his skate on Saturday. “I'm super happy about it. I was thinking about all the stuff I've been working on all week, and I tried to apply it as much as I could. During the last lap, I got a little bit nervous. There is still room for improvement, but I'm still incredibly happy about it!”

De Haître said that making a change to his approach also helped.

“Before, as soon as I would find out who I was with in my pair, I would get nervous because of who they were and I would worry about where they would be on the ice. This time, I told myself to really focus on what I needed to do in the race and that if I see him, I see him. And if I don't, it's a good race.”

It should be noted that de Haître has won gold three times in the team pursuit event in the past skating for Team Canada.

In other races involving local skaters, Orléans native Invanie Blondin just missed the podium on Friday with a fourth place performance in the women's 3000-metres, while fellow east-ender Isabelle Weidemann came in eighth place in the same race. 

The pair were then part of the Canadian team persuit team, along with Calgary's Brianne Tutt, that crashed out of their race and didn't finish.

Blondin is expected to do well in the women's mass start final on Sunday. She won a gold medal in the event in Korea on Nov. 13, and followed that up with a silver medal in Nagano, Japan a week later.

Organizations: World Cup Finals, Team Canada

Geographic location: Orléans, Calgary, Korea Nagano Japan

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