Canada's Ivanie Blondin, Isabelle Weidemann and Valérie Maltais started the final day of the Four Continents speed skating championships with a bang on Sunday at the Utah Olympic Oval near Salt Lake City.
The trio won the women's team pursuit in an event-record time of two minutes 54.02 seconds — 3.52 seconds ahead of second-place Japan, and 10.30 seconds ahead of bronze-medallists United States.
Paired with South Korea in the second race of the four-team event, Canada lapped its opponent on the last turn just before crossing the finish line on the sixth and final lap, with the South Koreans finishing their last lap 16.76 seconds later.
While Japan set the Four Continents record time mere minutes before Canada staked its claim in the short four-year history of the competition, the pace the Canadians skated at was just 0.58 seconds off its time of 2:53.44 to win Olympic gold in Beijing in 2022.
Blondin and Weidemann, both of Ottawa, and Maltais of La Baie, Que., have dominated the event for years, winning eight straight World Cup races in the 2020/21, 2021/22 and 2022/23 seasons, only to have their streak snapped by Japan at the first World Cup event of this season in Japan in November.
All three women had already secured individual medals earlier in the three-day event.
Maltais and Weidemann — who skipped the World Cup's two European stops last month to prepare for the North American leg of the season — added gold and silver medals, respectively, in the women's 3,000m on Saturday, while Blondin won a bronze medal in the women's team sprint on Friday.
Blondin took home her second gold of the day on Sunday by winning the women's mass start in a time of 8:42.56, collecting 66 sprint points.
American Giorgia Birkeland was second with a time of 8:44.65 and 43 sprint points, and Kyoko Nitta of Japan claimed bronze with an 8:47.19 time and 26 sprint points.
Blondin kicked into high gear on the 16th and final lap, slowing down near the finish line yet still securing her fastest lap time of the race at 27.4 seconds to earn 60 sprint points.
Canada's Laura Hall was seventh with a time of 8:54.30.
Gélinas-Beaulieu leads Canadian men on final day of competition
The Canadian men's pursuit team — comprised of Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu of Sherbrooke, Que., Connor Howe of Canmore, Alta., and Toronto's Hayden Mayeur — followed up the Canadian women's performance by finishing just 0.04 seconds back of the American gold-medal winning time of 3:36.80.
Japan took bronze with a time of 3:42.08.
Gélinas-Beaulieu then capped a 12-medal haul for Canada with a bronze in the men's mass start, finishing with a time of 8:16.46 and 20 sprint points.
South Korea's Jae-Won Chung won gold with a time of 8:16.33 and 60 sprint points, while Japan's Shomu Sasaki was second with an 8:16.43 time and 40 sprint points.
Daniel Hall of Canada was seventh with a time of 8:29.84 and six sprint points.
The Canadian team will remain in Utah for the fifth stop on the World Cup circuit, which runs Friday through Sunday, before making its way to Quebec City for the last World Cup stop ahead of the world championships in Calgary Feb. 15-18.
Live coverage for all events can be found on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem.
Other Canadian results
Laurent Dubreuil closed a strong weekend that saw him take home two gold medals with a fifth-place result in the men's 1,000m, finishing just 0.84 second back of a podium finish with a time of 1:07.86. Yankun Zhao (seventh) and Vincent De Haître (eighth) also added top-10 finishes for Canada in the event.
Maddison Pearman led all Canadian competitors with a 10th-place finish in the women's 1,000m. Alexa Scott placed 12th while Alison Desmarais finished 14th.