Shalom Life | March 15, 2014

A Look at Israel's Athletes at Sochi 2014

The best of the best will be competing in Sochi, Russia starting this Friday, including five determined Israeli athletes set on bringing home the gold

By: Zak Edwards

Published: February 3rd, 2014 in Sports » World

This Friday, in Sochi, Russia, the best the world has to offer will walk into the Fisht Olympic Stadium. Their flags will be held high, smiles on their faces, and they will come to represent what their countries have to offer.

Some will be accompanied by large delegations with literally hundreds of athletes and plenty of favourites. For Israel, they will bring just five talented athletes but plenty of determination and a sincere love for their games.

2014 marks Israel’s sixth foray into the Winter Olympics and will nearly double their participants from 2010’s Vancouver Games. To date, Israel has won seven medals at the summer games and this year, an estimated 2 billion people will be tuning to watch the world’s greatest athletes compete in Russia. Among them will be Israel’s five chosen athletes and we think it’s important that we all get to know these talented individuals. So, without further adieu, allow me to present our profile on Israel’s Winter Olympic delegation:

1. Alexei Bychenko

Age: 25

Sport: Figure Skating


Alexei Bychenko is a Ukrainian-Israeli figure skater who formerly skated for his birth country of Ukraine. Born in Kiev, he began skating at five and has been climbing the ranks ever since. He placed 29th and 31st at the World Championships in 2012 and 2013 respectively, and 10th at last year’s European Championships. Bychenko has focused on Flamenco in his free skate recently but also uses soundtrack songs I wouldn’t usually associate with figure skating, like Hans Zimmer’s score for Inception. Bychenko is currently being coached by 2002 World Bronze Champion Galit Chait.

Competition: Men’s figure skating will actually be an exciting competition this year with plenty of hopefuls. Japan’s team in particular has some serious competition, but especially Yuzuru Hanyu. At 19, Hanyu has already been setting world records and generally taking the world by storm. The usual big countries, Canada and the U.S., do not have especially strong skaters this year, according to analysts, but France and Spain could provide some surprises, especially Spain’s Javier Fernandez.

2. Evgeni Krasnopolski and Andrea Davidovich

Ages: 25 and 16

Sport: Pairs Figure Skating


Nearly a decade apart in age, Evgeni Krasnopolski and Andrea Davidovich have their sights set on a top ten placement at Sochi. The pair is Israel’s first pairs team to place for the Olympics and they have high hopes. "I hope we can make the top 10 this time and looking ahead to the next Olympics, I think we can be in the top five," 16 year-old Davidovich told the Jewish Chronicle last week. The pair have only been working together for about a year, but they are probably Israel’s top chance at the podium. Figure skating is Israel’s strongest sport in the Winter Games and the pair already have a strong record. They placed sixth at the U.S. Classic and seventh at the European Championships with their program, which includes a healthy love of Romeo & Juliet.

Competition: Pairs figure skating was dominated by the Chinese and the Russians last season but Olympic hopefuls include a pair from Germany and the USA’s most recent selections. Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir are considerably different in size, which leads to uniquely athletic performances, so they could shake things up in Sochi. China’s pairs are frontrunners as always, along with Canada’s three contending pairs. The top spot hopefuls is a crowded place this year for pairs figure skating.

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