Israeli skaters perform better than expected

Israeli Olympic figure skaters won’t be bringing home any medals from Sochi this winter, but Israelis are still shepping naches from their performances.

Israeli skaters Evgeni Krasnopolski and Andrea Davidovich finished Wednesday’s pairs competition in 15th place. They were not expected to medal or even place in the top 10, with the Israel Olympic Committee holding out for them to make it to the free program round, which they did.

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Krasnopolski, 25, and Davidovich, 16, only began skating together last year, and train in New Jersey.

American Jewish skater Simon Shnapir and his partner Marissa Castelli finished ninth in the pairs competition, but will take home a bronze medal in the team competition,

On Thursday, Israeli figure skater Alexei Bychenko qualified to advance to the men’s free skate with a 16th-place finish in the men’s short program. Israelis also had something to cheer about when fellow MOT, American  Jason Brown, 19, finished in fifth place with a personal best score of 86.

One Israeli skater who is having trouble at this year’s Olympics is short-track speed skater Vladislav Bykanov, who on Tuesday failed to qualify for the 1,500-meter semifinals by less than a second. On Thursday he failed to qualify for the 1,000-meter semifinals. He will also participate in the 500-meter competition next Tuesday.

Julie Wiener Julie Wiener is a features writer for JTA. Previously, she was the associate editor of The New York Jewish Week, where she wrote about education, food and assorted other topics along with intermarriage.