Winter Olympics 2018: Tracking Israel’s Athletes

By | Feb 20, 2018
Israel, Latest
cover photo israeli athletes
 This post will be updated throughout the Olympics.

February 20

The figure skating team saw a lot of action last weekend, with Alexei Bychenko and Daniel Samohin skating in the medal round of the men’s free skating event, and ice dancing partners Adel Tankova and Ronald Zilberberg competing in the short dance competition. Bychenko and Samohin both skated well, but were unable to medal. Bychenko finished in 11th and Samohin in 13th. Tankova and Zilberberg finished in 24th place and did not qualify for the next round.

In the first alpine skiing events of this Olympics, Itamar Biran finished 58th and 49th respectively in the first two runs of the giant slalom.

Vladislav Bykanov also failed to qualify for the next round of the 500 meter short track speed skating event.

February 16

Alexei Bychenko and Daniel Samohin will become the first individual members of the Israeli figure skating team to have a shot at a medal in this Olympics after they both qualified for the final round of the men’s single skating short program. Bychenko finished 13th with a score of 84.13, and Samohin finished 18th with 80.69. The medal round will be held on Saturday.

In the pairs skating short program, Paige Conners and Evgeni Krasnopolski failed to qualify for the medal round on Wednesday after finishing in 19th.

Vladislav Bykanov also failed to qualify for the next round of the short track speed skating 1000 meter event on Tuesday.

February 12

Israel’s figure skating team finished 8th out of 10 places this weekend and failed to qualify for the finals in the team event. But despite the disappointing outcome for the team, there were some highlights: Alexei Bychenko impressed judges with his routine in the men’s short program, using “Hava Nagila” as his music, to earn second place. Aimee Buchanan received her personal best score in the ladies’ short program, even though she ended up in last place.

With the team event over, some of the skaters will be competing for individual medals. Paige Conners and Evgeni Krasnopolski are up first in the pair skating short program on Wednesday.

In short track speed skating, Vladislav Bykanov did not qualify for the semi-finals in the 1500 meter event. He will next compete in the 1000 meter event on Tuesday.

February 9

Israel is sending its largest ever delegation to the Winter Olympics this year in PyeongChang, South Korea. The ten athletes—who are representing the country in figure skating, alpine skiing, short track speed skating and skeleton—will be vying to bring Israel its first medal in the winter games. PyeongChang marks Israel’s seventh time participating in the Winter Olympics since it first sent figure skater Michael Shmerkin to Lillehammer, Norway in 1994, and its first time in the skeleton event.

Check back here for frequent updates on the team’s progress. Here is a brief rundown of the athletes, and the events they’re competing in:


Oleksii Bychenko​ — Men’s Single Skating

Bychenko is largely considered Israel’s best chance at receiving a medal this year. He became the first Israeli to medal at the European Figure Skating Championships when he won silver in 2016. After representing Ukraine earlier in his career, Bychenko started competing for Israel in 2011.

Daniel Samohin​ — Men’s Single Skating

At 19 years old, Samohin has already experienced a lot of success in his career, most recently winning the 2016 World Junior Figure Skating Championships. However, he is entering the Olympics soon after a dislocated shoulder he sustained in late 2017.

Aimee Buchanan​ — Ladies’ Single Skating

Buchanan, 24, is originally from Boston. PyeongChang will be her first Olympic games, but she has represented Israel three times at the European Figure Skating Championships and won the Israel National Championship in 2016.

Paige Conners​ and Evgeni Krasnopolski​ — Pairs

Conners, 17, and Krasnopolski, 29, have been skating together for less than a year, but they have performed well enough to qualify for the Olympics in the pairs category and finish 9th at the 2018 European Figure Skating Championships. Conners was originally planning on trying out for the U.S. national team, but she fell sick before tryouts and was able to join the Israeli team due to her mother having citizenship there. Krasnopolski is competing in his second Olympic games.

Adel Tankova/Ronald Zilberberg​ — Ice Dancing

Tankova and Zilberberg have been partners since 2016. Their best competitive performance was their fifth place finish at the 2016 Volvo Open Cup.


Itamar Biran — Men’s Giant Slalom, Men’s Slalom

Biran, 19, has represented Israel at the 2015 Alpine Ski World Championships and the 2016 Youth Olympics. He currently lives in Switzerland.


Vladislav Bykanov​ — Men’s 500m, 1000m, 1500m

Bykanov was the first Israeli athlete to win the 3000m race of the European Short Track Speed Skating championship. These are his second Olympic games after Sochi in 2014.


Adam (AJ) Edelman

Edelman, a former collegiate hockey player for MIT, started training for the Skeleton event in 2014. He has since won two medals for Israel at the 2018 North American Cup and competed in two world championships.

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