Eighth-place finish for Israel in team event

Blue-and-white figure skaters miss out on medal round, Bykanov up next in short track 1,000.

February 12, 2018 00:14
3 minute read.
AIMEE BUCHANAN competes for Team Israel

AIMEE BUCHANAN competes for Team Israel yesterday during the women’s short program in the figure skating team event. The 24-year-old – originally from the US – set a personal best with her performance, but that wasn’t enough to propel the blue-and-white into the medal round.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Israel ended the figure skating team event in eighth place at the Pyeongchang Olympics on Sunday after its representatives in the ice dancing and women’s short programs finished in 10th and last place at the Gangneung Ice Arena.

Israel, which qualified for the team competition for the first time, entered the day ranked in fifth position from the 10 participating teams, but couldn’t hold on to a place among the top five, which all advanced to compete for the medals in the free programs.

Adel Tanakova and Ronald Zilberberg registered a score of 44.61 in the ice dance short dance, the lowest among the 10 teams to add just a single point to Israel’s overall tally. Aimee Buchanan was delighted after setting a new personal best of 46.30 in the women’s short program, but that was also only good enough for 10th place.

Israel finished with 13 points overall, nine of which were earned by Alexei Bychenko’s second-place finish in the men’s short program.

South Korea and France both also tallied 13 points, but Israel edged them for eighth place thanks to Bychenko. Germany in seventh place had 16 points, China finished with 18, while Japan, which was the fifth and final team to progress, amassed 32 points.

None of Israel’s 10 representatives will compete on Monday, with the next Israeli in action at the Games to be short-track speedskater Vladislav Bykanov, who will take part in the men’s 1,000-meters race on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Canada leads the figure skating team event entering Monday’s final day, but it was Evgenia Medvedeva making the headlines on Sunday after setting a new world record in the women’s figure skating short program, helping the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) into second place.

Medvedeva, the reigning world champion who is competing in her first Olympics, was awarded 81.06 points for her performance, sparking cheers from Russian fans in the crowd.

The 18-year-old overcame a number of hurdles to make it to Pyeongchang, including a broken foot that forced her to drop out of the Grand Prix Final last year and a doping scandal that cast doubt on whether the Russians would be allowed to participate at all.

Medvedeva said her injury and the uncertainty surrounding Russian Olympians had just made her and her teammates stronger.

“I competed to feel the magic of the Olympics,” she said.

Following the women’s short program the top five teams – Canada, OAR, the United States, Italy and Japan – advanced to the final round of the team event.

Trailing Canada and the OAR, the United States is currently in third place after solid performances by 20-year-old Bradie Tennell and the husband-wife pair of Chris and Alexa Scimeca Knierim.

In the pairs free skate, Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford had a solid effort, but did not cleanly land their throw quad Salchow, an element that pushes the technical limits of the sport. The pair earned 148.51 points.

“It’s nice to have a strong performance but not a perfect one here, so we have room left to improve for the individual event,” said Radford.

Italy’s Valentina Marchei and Ondrej Hotarek skated a personal best score of 138.44 points, helping Italy into fourth, while Olympic Athletes from Russia Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert finished third with 133.28 points.

Earlier on Sunday, Canadian ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir produced a sizzling routine to bolster an already strong Canadian team performance.

The reigning world champions and three-time Olympic medalists dazzled with an impressive midline step sequence that earned them 80.51 points.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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