Another disqualification for Israel's Bynakov at Pyeongchang

Bykanov on Saturday illegally pushed an opponent int he 1500 meter race, disqualifying him for the first time in the Winter Games.

Israeli speedskater Vladislav Bynakov (right) competes in the men's 1,000 meters at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics (photo credit: REUTERS)
Israeli speedskater Vladislav Bynakov (right) competes in the men's 1,000 meters at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics
(photo credit: REUTERS)
 For the second time in four days, Israel’s short-track speedskater Vladislav Bykanov thought he had progressed past the heats at the Pyeongchang Olympics, only to quickly discover he had been disqualified.
Bykanov crossed the finish line in Heat 7 of the men’s 1,000- meter race in second place, with the top two advancing to the quarterfinals.
However, just like in the 1,500m heats on Saturday, TV replays showed he had illegally pushed an opponent, in this case Italy’s Yuri Confortola, and he was quickly disqualified.
Bykanov, who won a bronze medal in the 1,500m final at the European Championships last month in Dresden, Germany, has yet to make it past the heats at the Olympic Games. He came up short in the 1,500m, 1,000m and 500m competitions at the Sochi Games in Russia four years ago and only has one more opportunity to make it through the heats in Pyeongchang when he competes in the 500m race next Tuesday.
The figure skating competitions resume on Wednesday, with Israel’s Evgeni Krasnopolski and Paige Conners to take part in the pair skating short program. Krasnopolski and Conners registered a score of 54.47 in the short program in the team event last Friday.
The Israeli duo will be the fourth team to perform and will open with a Triple Twist Lift, Triple Toeloop and Throw Triple Lutz.
Krasnopolski also competed at the Sochi Games four years ago, finishing in 15th place with Andrea Davidovich. Krasnopolski and Conners ended the pairs competition at last month’s European Championships in ninth place.
The men’s event will be the next figure skating competition to get under way on Friday, with Israel having two representatives in Alexei Bychenko and Daniel Samohin.
Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu’s preparations for the defense of his title have been far from ideal after a bad ankle injury, but the Japanese is confident he will win in Pyeongchang.
The 23-year-old had been considered the man to beat in Pyeongchang until a hard fall in practice last November kept him off the ice for two “painful” months.
Hanyu said on Tuesday there are still jumps and moves he has not yet done in training but felt he could still win, depending on what he puts in his program.
“I am confident that if I skate cleanly I will definitely win,” Hanyu, 23, told a packed news conference at the Gangneung Ice Area after a practice session.
During a run through of his free skate to “Onmyoji” early on Tuesday, Hanyu was clearly taking it easy, although he did land a clean quad Salchow and quad toeloop.
A token practice on Monday ended after about five minutes.
The pressure is on Hanyu to buck history. No one has defended the men’s singles figure skating gold since American Dick Button in 1952.
The fall while practicing a quad Lutz ahead of the NHK Trophy last November almost derailed Hanyu’s plans.
He was ordered out of the tournament by his doctor, reportedly broke down in tears and then showed up on crutches for an interview, then disappeared.
“I thought of being shot up with painkillers and still taking part, but my ankle wouldn’t move at all,” Hanyu said on Tuesday. “It was way beyond painkillers.”
In the crucial final run-up to the Olympics, when most athletes follow a carefully planned program to get in peak condition, Hanyu was forced to “just sit and watch competitions” and could not step on the ice.
“I’m still in the adjustment stage and there are a lot of jumps and elements I haven’t done,” he said.
“I have a plan and I’m going to bring myself to peak condition at just the right time.”
Reuters contributed to this report.