For many, seeing the Israeli flag emblazoned upon the sleek skin suits of Winter Olympic athletes is a foreign, albeit thrilling moment.
But it may be very short-lived.
Skier Vladislav Bykanov, Israel’s first competitor at the 2014 Olympic Games held in Sochi, Russia, came up short Monday, finishing fourth of six in the 1,500 meter men’s short track heats — not enough to qualify for the next round.
Se Yeong Park of South Korea inched him out by just eight hundredths of a second.
Bykanov was required to finish in the top three to advance to the semifinals, and he managed to keep up with his challengers up until the final turn, where Park made his move and beat Bykanov for the final spot. The Men’s 1500 meter finals was won by Charles Hamelin of Canada. Tianyu Han of China earned silver, and Victor An of Russia, bronze.
The 24-year-old Ukrainian immigrant, who was chosen as Israel’s standard bearer during the opening ceremony, will also be competing in the 500- and 1,000-meter short track races.