Meet Israel’s Largest-Ever Winter Olympics Team
This year’s delegation of athletes competing for Israel in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games includes sabras, as well as competitors who were born in Ukraine, the US and UK.
A total of ten Israeli athletes will be representing the Jewish state in the Games, which start on Friday in Pyeongchang, South Korea. They will be competing in four sports: figure skating, short-track speed skating, alpine skiing and skeleton.
Israel’s seven-person figure skating team is led by Alexei Bychenko, who earned the silver medal in the 2016 European Figure Skating Championships. The 29-year-old skated for Ukraine until 2009. Bychenko, fellow figure skater Evgeni Krasnopolsky and short-track speed skater Vladislav Bykanov — all native Ukrainians — represented Israel in Russia in the 2014 Winter Games and are returning to do the same in Pyeongchang.
Another member of Israel’s figure skating team is 17-year-old Paige Connors, who missed the US tryouts due to illness, prompting her mother, who has Israeli citizenship, to suggest she try out for the Israeli team.
Itamar Biran, a 19-year-old born in London, will be Israel’s sole representative in alpine skiing, while AJ Edelman, originally from Boston, Massachusetts, will be take part in the skeleton competions.
Israel has never won a Winter Olympics medal.
This is by far Israel’s largest delegation ever sent to compete in the Winter Olympics, according to The Times of Israel. The biggest Israeli delegation at a Winter Olympics prior to this year was five.