Ivanie Blondin, Vincent De Haitre prepare for another shot at Olympic glory – Ottawa

Ivanie Blondin and Vincent De Haitre are no strangers to the pressure of the Olympic oval.

The Ottawa speed skaters were both named to Canada’s Olympic team this week, four years after competing as first-time Olympians at the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia.

They spoke to the CBC Radio’s Giacomo Panico on All in a Day this week about their expectations for next month’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

“I think I’m way more excited than nervous,” said Blondin, who’s originally from Orléans. “Going into Sochi I was nervous and I didn’t know what to expect.”

Ottawa’s Ivanie Blondin competes in the 5000-metre during a test event for the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. (Getty Images)

Some help from ‘Rocky’

De Haitre, who hails from Cumberland, credited his family with giving him the support he needs to succeed — as well as a cinematic source of motivation.

He said he’s been turning to the fifth Rocky film for inspiration for his races.

“When you’re race-prepping, you have a lot of free time leading into a race sometimes,” he said. “Last year, I watched all five Rocky movies going into the trial, and this year I just stuck to the one.” 

Ottawa speed skater Vincent De Haitre, left, says he’s drawing on one iconic film character for inspiration heading into the Olympics: boxer Rocky Balboa, immortalized on screen by Sylvester Stallone. (Peter de Jong/Associated Press, George Wideman/Associated Press)

De Haitre is competing in the 1,000 and 1,500-metre races, having won a silver medal in the former event in last season’s world single distance championships.

“Being described as a medal contender is something I’ve always wanted to be described as,” he said. “Now that someone had said it, I really want to prove them right.”

Brand new event

Blondin will race in the 3,000 and 5,000-metre events, as well as the speed skating mass start, which is making its debut at the Olympics this year. 

The mass start eliminates individual lanes for skaters. Blondin described it as something of a “free-for-all.”

“I think it’s really going to be a crowd-pleaser,” she said. “It’s just exciting taking part in a new event.”

Vincent De Haitre will be competing in the 1,000 and 1,500-metre races at Pyeongchang, having won a silver medal in the former event in last season’s world single distance championships. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Blondin will compete alongside fellow Ottawa native Isabelle Weidemann, who…

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