Team Israel in Sochi

Hi All!

It's time for the Opening Ceremony in Sochi, Russia - Lets look at Team Israel in the Winter Olympics!

Israel is sending 5 participants who will compete in Figure Skating, Slalom and Giant Slalom, Short-Track Speed Skating.

One point of irony is that none of the participants are born Israeli – in fact three train in Hackensack, a New York City suburb, one in Belgium, and one in the Netherlands.

The delegation of four men and one woman are all first-time Olympians.

This is actually two more participants than what Israel sent four years ago to Vancouver.

For a fact, Israel has never sent more than five athletes to a Winter Olympics.

The Israeli delegations in 2002 and 2006 also numbered five members.

Israel's debut at the Winter Games was in Lillehammer in 1994 where figure skater Michael Shmerkin was the country's lone representative.

Vladislav Bykanov, who moved to Israel from Ukraine in 1994, will be the first to compete in Monday's 1,500-meter short track event.

He will also participate in the 500m and 1,000m races with an aim to reach the quarterfinals in all three of his events.

Alpine skier Virgile Vandeput is 19 years old and is expected to finish among the top half of skiers in both slalom events he is in.

Alexei Bychenko will compete next week in men's figure skating.

And lastly, the figure skating duo of Evgeni Krasnopolski and Andrea Davidovich will compete in the short program of the pairs event on Tuesday and in free skating on Wednesday.

Brian Bush Middle East Correspondent LeSEA Broadcasting

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