Feb. 15, 2022

Speedskater Isabelle Weidemann wins her third Olympic medal for Canada

First a bronze, then a silver, then a gold — UCalgary science student makes repeated trips to Beijing 2022 podium
Team Canada long-track speedskater Isabelle Weidemann celebrates after winning the silver medal at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
Team Canada long-track speedskater Isabelle Weidemann celebrates after winning the silver medal at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. Mark Blinch, Canadian Olympic Committee

UPDATED Tuesday, Feb. 15

Isabelle Weidemann went to the 2022 Olympics as a speedskater — and quickly established herself as a milestone-maker.

When she snagged bronze in the women’s 3,000 metres on Opening Day, she became Canada’s first medal winner in Beijing. It also represented the country’s 200th medal, all-time, at the Winter Games.

But Weidemann, who is studying natural sciences in the Faculty of Science at UCalgary, was not done. Thursday at the National Speed Skating Oval, she earned silver in the 5,000 metres, which made her Canada’s first double medallist in Beijing.

Then Weidemann — along with Ivanie Blondin and Valérie Maltais — won a gold medal in the women's team pursuit early Tuesday morning. Which gives her bronze, silver, and gold medals from the 2022 Olympics.

Weidemann is Canada’s first triple medallist of the Games and is just the second Canadian ever to collect a set of gold, silver and bronze medals at one edition of the Winter Games. Cindy Klassen, who called the Olympic Oval home for many years and also took classes at UCalgary, did it as part of her haul of five medals at Turin in 2006.

The Canadian skating team won gold in Beijing by posting an Olympic record time of 2:53.44 in the final against Japan. The Canadians trailed the Japanese for most of the race, but their victory was sealed after Japan’s Nana Takagi lost her footing on the final turn and fell with just a half lap to go.

Canadian speedskater Isabelle Weidemann

Weidemann says she’s grateful her family relocated from Ottawa so she could train at Calgary's Olympic Oval.

Mark Blinch, Canadian Olympic Committee

More Olympic medals from long-track speedskating

Beijing hasn't been a breeze for the Calgary 26-year-old. “My race was really hard,” Weidemann said shortly after her silver-medal performance. “I fought the last five (of the 12 and a half) laps. I was just counting down the strides. The 5K is my most favourite event ... (but) I haven’t skated that deep into the hole in a while. I was just trying to stay on my feet.

“I’m just really excited to have skated it here at the Olympics and to bring home another medal for Canada.”

At the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, Weidemann competed in the same three events, placing fourth (team pursuit), sixth (5,000), and seventh (3,000). Despite that experience, she admitted she was unsettled in the lead-up to her first appearance in Beijing.

“I was pretty nervous,” Weidemann told reporters after securing bronze. “I was less and less nervous as I got closer to the start of the race. I also knew that I wanted to be conservative of the first few laps and be able to fight at the end. So I started a little bit slower and emptied the tank with three laps to go.”

Her 3,000 clocking was the best — with only two skaters to go. So she knew she had clinched a trip to the podium.

Flood of emotions

“It was very surreal,” Weidemann said. “A lot of relief — a total flood of emotions. I cried pretty quickly. I was very overwhelmed and just so happy, so happy that I could bring home a medal for my family and for Canada and for everybody that’s been such a support.”

Thursday’s story was similar — she posted the top time with only a couple of racers remaining. Irene Schouten of the Netherlands set an Olympic record in the final pairing to grab gold, leaving Weidemann with a silver keepsake.

“Oh my gosh, my family was so excited,” said Weidemann. “They were so, so excited and so proud. I race every day for them.”

Nearly 10 years ago, when Weidemann left Ottawa to train with the national team at the Olympic Oval, her family, including parents Laurel Rockwell and John Weidemann, moved to Calgary, too.

“They have supported me for so long through so much,” said Weidemann. “They packed up and moved across the country. I am so grateful.”

Check out the CBC's events schedule and results.