Blue-and-white’s Bykanov last in 500m heat

Speedskater avoids disqualification for 1st time in Pyeongchang.

February 21, 2018 01:35
3 minute read.
Blue-and-white’s Bykanov last in 500m heat

VLADISLAV BYKANOV (right) of Israel finished cleanly in his 500-meter heat in the short-track speedskating event at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, albeit in last place with a time of 47.177 seconds. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Israel’s short-track speedskater Vladislav Bykanov saw his frustrating Olympics end with further disappointment on Tuesday when he failed to make it past the 500-meter heats in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

After being disqualified in the 1,500m and 1,000m competitions last week for bumping another skater, he at least managed to clock a time on Tuesday.

But he finished fourth and a distant last in Heat 2 in 47.177 seconds after losing his balance midway through the race.

Bykanov was competing in his second Winter Games, but he has yet to make it past the heats at the Olympics, also coming up short in the 1,500m, 1,000m and 500m competitions in Sochi four years ago.

Israel’s record delegation of 10 athletes has almost completed its participation in Pyeongchang, with skier Itamar Biran to be the final blue-and-white representative to compete when he takes part in the Slalom on Thursday.

The Olympics will come to a close on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Canadian ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir claimed their second Olympic gold medal with a brilliant free dance on Tuesday, edging to the top of the podium by less than a point and breaking the world record.

Skating last to “Moulin Rouge,” the pair embraced and grinned on the ice after their dynamic performance that had the audience roaring.

They won with a total score of 206.07, eclipsing the world record that had been set just moments before by French pair Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, who finished on 205.28.

“We don’t know what the future holds quite yet but it definitely feels like we’re getting close to the end of our career,” Moir told OBS, the official Olympics broadcaster.

The pair had previously said this would be their last Olympics and hinted that retirement from competition – this time for good – might be on the cards soon.

“We’re just proud of our accomplishments at these Games. The goal was to win two golds but it’s a really intense competition,” Moir added.

“We have such respect especially for Gabriella and Guillaume. We’re pretty happy with how things turned out, that’s for sure.”

The Canadian pair, who won gold in Vancouver eight years ago, have dominated the event since they returned to competition after retiring following a silver at the Sochi Games four years ago. They also have a team silver from Sochi and gold at Pyeongchang, won last week.

They made a comeback late in 2016 and powered to a number of world records with only one defeat along the way.

That loss – in the Grand Prix Final in Japan last December – was to Papadakis and Cizeron, and prompted the fiercely competitive Canadians to return home and tweak their program in response.

Papadakis and Cizeron struggled in their short program on Monday after the top of Papadakis’s costume came loose, and were 1.74 points behind the Canadians entering Tuesday’s free dance.

The pair’s ethereal free dance had the audience at the Gangneung Ice Arena clapping and set a new world record for both the free skate – they scored 123.35 and topped the Canadians – and the total score.

Virtue and Moir broke that record fewer than 15 minutes later, when they scored 122.40 in the free program.

“We are really proud of what we did today,” Cizeron said. “We did the best we could on the ice and it was a very emotional moment and we’re really proud of that silver medal.”

American siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani, known as the “Shib Sibs,” won bronze after entering the free dance in fourth. They finished on 192.59.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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