SPEED SKATER Vladislav Bykanov (front) will once again headline Israel’s delegation to the Winter Olympics next month in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
(photo credit: ERAN LUF)
Israel’s delegation to next month’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea will number 10 athletes, doubling the country’s previous high.
Israel has never sent more than five representatives to the Winter Games, but it will have seven athletes just in the figure skating competitions in South Korea, as well as a first-ever competitor in the skeleton.
Adam Edelman became the 10th and final Israeli to book his spot, with his ranking at No. 61 in the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation standings proving to be enough to secure a berth in Pyeongchang.
While Edelman has to do most of his training abroad due to the lack of facilities and suitable weather in Israel, he spent four months in Israel last year working out in the gym in preparation for the new season.
In the skeleton, competitors ride a small sled down a frozen track while lying face down, experiencing forces up to 5G and reaching speeds over 130 km/h.
Israel’s figure skaters are currently in Moscow taking part in the European Championships as they enter the final stretch of their preparations for the Olympics.
Alexei Bychenko, who won a silver medal at the Europeans last year, qualified for the free program from a relatively disappointing eighth place, recording a score of 74.97 in the short program on Wednesday.
Bychenko is the undoubted star of the Israel team to Pyeongchang. He registered the best-ever finish for an Israeli man at the figure skating world championships in Helsinki last year, ending the event in 10th place, which earned Israel a second berth in the men’s competition at the Olympics.
Daniel Samohin, who owes his place in Pyeongchang to Bychenko, did not advance to Friday’s free skate after finishing 26th in the short program with 59.18 points.
Evgeni Krasnopolski and Paige Conners, who will participate in the pairs event at the Olympics, scored 52.32 in their short program, placing them in 10th position.
Israel will also be represented in South Korea by ice dancers Adel Tanakova and Ronald Zilberberg and by Aimee Buchanan in the women’s figure skating competition.
Buchanan received a berth due to Israel’s qualification for the team event as one of the top 10 nations in the world.
Besides the figure skaters, short track speed skater Vladislav Bykanov, who claimed a bronze medal in the men’s 1,500-meters at the European Championships last weekend in Dresden, Germany, will be participating in his second straight Olympics, while Itamar Biran will compete in the alpine skiing events.