Israel’s figure skating team finished eighth in the short program, failing to qualify for the finals after a strong start in its bid for its first-ever Winter Olympics medal.
The Israeli skaters finished last in both the ice dance duet and women’s solo categories early Sunday, despite Aimee Buchanan scoring her personal best. Buchanan added two more points to the team score, bringing its total to 13 points, enough to place Israel in eighth place in the 10-team field, ahead of South Korea and France.
The first Israeli representatives to feature on Sunday in Pyeongchang were the young duo of Adel Tankova, 17, and Ronald Zilberberg, 21, who had been training together for just one year prior to the Olympics.
With cha-cha and samba music playing in the background, the two scored 44.61 for their ice dance, landing in tenth place. Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue from Canada came first, with a score of 80.51.
Later, 24-year-old Aimee Buchanan, who lives in the United States, had a clean performance and was jubilant after scoring 46.30 — 1.23 points ahead of her personal best and almost 10 points higher than her top performance this year, according to Hebrew-language website Ynet.
Russian skater Evgenia Medvedeva came in first place with 81.06.
Wow – #TeamIsrael Aimee Buchanan ????????skated beautifully to Only Hope! ????????She looks like she is enjoying her Olympic experience.⛸️ She's smiling – 46.30 To take part is the joy of the Olympics – Aimee did it! Kol Hakavod ⛸️
Posted by Follow Team Israel on Saturday, 10 February 2018
This landed Israel in the cumulative eighth slot after the two-day tournament with 13 points. Only five teams advanced to the finals: Canada in first with 46 points, the Russian athletes who scored 36, the US with 36, Italy with 35 and Japan with 32 points. China with 18 points and Germany with 16 finished ahead of Israel but also failed to advance to the finals.
In the first day of the tournament on Friday, Alexei Bychenko, 30, had a strong performance and finished second in his clean short program with 88.49, falling short only of Japan’s Shoma Uno.
Later that day, Israelis Paige Conners and Evgeni Krasnopolski skated in the pairs short program, notching a score of 54.47, or ninth place.
Teams are awarded points based on their finish in each discipline. Each of the finals qualifiers will field a free skate program for each discipline, with medals decided Monday.
Israel has never won a medal in the Winter Olympics, but has fielded more athletes in recent years, partly in thanks to an influx of Russian immigrants. Its 10 athletes competing in Pyeongchang this year is a record for the country in the Winter Games.