Israeli figure skater Alexei Bychenko.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Alexei Bychenko registered the best-ever finish for an Israeli man at the figure skating world championships in Helsinki on Saturday, ending the event in 10th place.
The 29-year-old had already secured his place at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics by qualifying for Saturday’s free skate. But by finishing in the top 10 he has also given the Israel delegation another berth in the men’s event in South Korea.
Daniel Samohin, who won the gold medal at the 2016 world junior figure skating championships last March, is the one who will likely benefit from Bychenko’s success in Helsinki.
Bychenko recorded a result of 160.68 in the free skate, finishing with an overall score of 245.96.
Bychenko, who also represented Israel at the 2014 Sochi Games, has registered an impressive improvement over the past year, winning his first career medal at a Grand Prix event in November, ending the men’s competition at the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow in third place.
Bychenko, who became the first Israeli to claim a medal at the European Figure Skating Championships last January when he finished in second place, took a bronze in Moscow, finishing behind Spain’s world champion Javier Fernandez and Shoma Uno of Japan.
Fernandez’s two-year reign at the worlds ended on Saturday after Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu’s exquisite all-round skills allowed him to overhaul a massive 10.66-point deficit to take the gold.
The so-called revolution by the next generation of men’s figure skaters failed to gather steam on the final day of competition, with quad-jumping powerhouses Nathan Chen, Shoma Uno and Jin Boyang coming up short in their bids to overthrow the establishment.Reuters contributed to this report.