Israeli Olympic Skaters Find Unlikely Home in New Jersey Training Center

Garden State Nurtures Jewish State's Sochi Hopes

Golden Pair: Israeli skaters Evgeni Krasnapolsky and Andrea Davidovich prepare for Winter Olympics.
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Golden Pair: Israeli skaters Evgeni Krasnapolsky and Andrea Davidovich prepare for Winter Olympics.

By Hillel Kuttler

Published February 04, 2014.
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(JTA) — Evgeni Krasnapolsky and Andrea Davidovich glide around the ice, shadowing one another to the accompaniment of Nino Rota’s “Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet.”

At a rink in this New York City suburb, the figure-skating pair are refining their long program a few weeks before the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, that open Friday.

Krasnapolsky, 25, and Davidovich, 16, are practicing their choreographed hand holding, lifts and throws at the indoor Ice House complex, which has become the epicenter of Israel’s Winter Olympics team, or at least its figure-skating component.

The pair, who began working together less than a year ago, will represent Israel at the Sochi games along with fellow figure skater Alexei Bychenko, 25, who also trains here year-round. The figure skating competition will be held Feb. 11-12.

Rounding out the Israeli contingent are alpine skier Virgile Vandeput, 19, based in Belgium, and short-track speed skater Vladislav Bykanov, 24, based in the Netherlands. All are first-time Olympians.

Krasnapolsky and Davidovich are coached by Galit Chait, a three-time Israeli Olympian in ice dancing, and Gennadi Krasnitski. Overseeing the New Jersey operations is Chait’s Moldova-born father, Boris Chait, the president of the Israel Ice Skating Federation despite living in the United States since 1975.

He’s not the only American playing a major role on the Israeli Winter Olympics scene. New York native Stanley Rubinstein, who immigrated to Israel in 1971 and resides in Caesarea, founded the Israel Ski Federation and serves on its board.

Chait, the owner of a computer consultancy, is cultivating a crop of skaters he predicts will represent Israel at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and beyond.


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