Skaters lead blue-and-white delegation to Olympics

Israel has qualified for the first time for the team competition, in which only 10 nations will participate.

February 8, 2018 23:54
2 minute read.
THE Israel figure skating duo of Evgeni Krasnopolski (left) and Paige Conners (right)

THE Israel figure skating duo of Evgeni Krasnopolski (left) and Paige Conners (right) will already begin their participation at the Pyeongchang Winter Games on Friday when they perform their short program as part of the team event.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The Opening Ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics will take place in South Korea on Friday, but Israel’s first representatives will already be in action earlier in the day when the figure skating team event gets under way.

Israel has qualified for the first time for the team competition, in which only 10 nations will participate.

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Alexei Bychenko will be the first Israeli to enter the fray when he competes in the men’s figure skating short program as part of the team event. A couple of hours later, Evgeni Krasnopolski and Paige Conners will perform their pairs short program at the Gangneung Ice Arena.

Despite competing earlier in the day, Bychenko will then lead out the Israel delegation at the Opening Ceremony at the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium after being selected to be the blue-and-white’s flag bearer.

“I’m really excited,” said Bychneko, who finished in 21st place at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, a result he is confident he can improve on in Pyeongchang after ending last year’s world championships in 10th place.

“I’m always proud to represent Israel wherever I compete. It is a great responsibility and as always I promise to represent Israel as best as I can.”

Israel’s delegation numbers 10 athletes, doubling the country’s previous high for the Winter Games.

The figure skating team event will continue on Sunday, with Adel Tanakova and Ronald Zilberberg to participate in the ice dance short dance, Aimee Buchanan to compete in the ladies short program and Krasnopolski and Conners to take part in the pairs free skate. The team event ends next Monday, with the men’s, ladies and ice dance free programs.

On Saturday, short track speed skater Vladislav Bykanov, who also competed in Sochi, begins his participation when he races in the men’s 1,500-meters. Bykanov won a bronze medal in the event at the European Championships in Dresden, Germany, last month. Bykanov will also take part in the 1,000m and 500m races later in the Games.

Israel’s delegation also includes Daniel Samohin, the gold medalist at the 2016 world junior figure skating championships, who will be the country’s second representative in men’s figure skating.

A.J. Edelman, who was the final Israeli to book his place, will take part in the skeleton competition next week, while Itamar Biran will participate in the alpine skiing giant slalom and slalom events in the final week of the Games, which run until February 25.

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