Figure skater chosen to be Israeli flag bearer at Winter Games
Alexey Bychenko got the nod on his 30th birthday.
The wait is over.
From The Grapevine has learned exclusively this morning that figure skater Alexey Bychenko will carry the flag for the Israel delegation during the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics. It seems he performed so well at the 2017 World Championships in Helsinki, Finland, that Israel qualified for not one, but two men's spots at the Olympics. "He is the main reason the Israeli team qualified for the Winter Games in Korea," Yona T. Berkovitz of Israel's National Olympic Committee told From The Grapevine.
PHOTOS: Israel at the Winter Olympics
The news couldn't have come at a better time for Bychenko, who is celebrating his 30th birthday today. “It is an honor to compete for Israel," he told us. "I’m really proud of that,” he said.
This is Bychenko's second Olympic appearance. He represented Israel at the 2014 Games in Sochi.
Though it ultimately depends on his health and fitness, Pyeongchang is likely to be Bychenko’s last Olympics as an athlete. “Four years is a long time, and there are a lot of really good young skaters coming up. They’re the new generation. But I might be at the next one as a coach,” he told us.
Bychenko is one of 10 athletes who will be competing for Israel at the Olympics in Pyeongchang. Watch Bychenko carry the flag this Friday night as the opening ceremonies air at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.
More Winter Olympic coverage on From The Grapevine:
- Israel to send its largest delegation ever to Winter Olympics
- Israel's best ski racer ready for Olympic stage
- Fresh off a gold in Europe, Israeli speed skater reveals his 'biggest dream'
- In his final Olympics, Alexey Bychenko skating for a place in history
- With no coach, this Israeli skeleton athlete learned the sport by watching YouTube videos
- Figure skater still pinching herself that Olympic dream coming true
- Figure skater chosen to be Israeli flag bearer at Olympic Games
- Olympic dreams come true thanks to unlikely partnership
- First photos: Israeli athletes share their arrival in Korea for Winter Olympics
- Young skaters to carry on Israel’s ice dancing tradition
- Daniel Samohin: 'I take risks because I skate for Israel'
- Slideshow: Photos of the Israeli athletes at the Olympics
- Aimee Buchanan shares videos and photos from her Olympic debut
- Video: Interview with father of Israeli Olympian Itamar Biran
- How a Midwestern girl ended up covering the Israeli team at the Winter Olympics
- Israeli Olympians impress in men's individual figure skating
- Video: Israeli alpine skier reflects on his Olympic debut
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