A four strong Figure Skating section has been announced in Sydney today, marking the first 2018 Olympic Team members and featuring Australia’s first indigenous Winter Olympian.
Sochi 2014 Olympian, Brendan Kerry will join three debutants Kailani Craine, Ekaterina ‘Katia’ Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor, as the quad prepare themselves to skate amongst the world’s best on the ice in PyeongChang.
AOC CEO Matt Carroll who announced the newest Team members said the Figure Skating section was full of youth and potential.
“These four athletes are a promising sign for Australia’s figure skating future,” Carroll said.
“They have all had some fantastic results over the past year and each of them has rightly earned their spot on the 2018 Winter Team. We thank the athletes, their National Federation, Ice Skating Australia, and the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia for their hard work and dedication in the lead up to PyeongChang, and wish them every success at the Games.”
2018 Chef de Mission, Ian Chesterman said today’s selection was a significant milestone in the PyeongChang preparations.
“After months of preparation, we are finally starting to assemble the full team and that is really exciting,” Chesterman said.
“The Figure Skaters have performed at a high level since Sochi, so there is a lot of potential amongst this group. Brendan is back and ready to enjoy his second Games, while we are equally as excited to welcome three highly talented young athletes who are just beginning their Olympic careers.”
Kerry, who will compete in the men’s individual event, said being selected in his second Olympic Team was more exciting and a bigger relief than his debut four years ago.
“The first Games is all about the experience,” 23-year-old Kerry said. “The second time it’s all business – I’m going there with very specific set goals. I think I’m going to deliver my two best performances yet. Mentally and physically I will be more prepared than I have ever been before.”
Kerry, whose mother Monica also competed in Figure Skating at the 1988 Calgary Games, noted the strength of his 2018 skating compatriots.
“Kailani winning the 2017 CS Nebelhorn Trophy is an amazing accomplishment that I think shows just how intense and well prepared she is for her Olympic debut,” Kerry said on his teammate who will skate in the women’s individual event.
“Harley and Katia, Junior World Champs and qualified for their first Olympics second season together! That’s just unbelievable!”
Kerry has shared a long-time friendship with Australia’s first Indigenous Winter Olympian, Windsor and is as equally proud of his achievements as his own.
“Harley is and has been my long time best friend and I think it’d be fair to say that I’m just as excited and proud of his accomplishments as his coaches and family.”
21-year-old Windsor, who reigns from Sydney’s Rooty Hill will join partner Katia Alexandrovskaya in the pairs event and enter the history books as the first Australian Winter Olympian of Indigenous heritage.
“Making my first Olympic team is huge,” Windsor said, who has always dreamed of an Olympic debut.
“Now it’s a reality the emotional roller coaster of it all is very overwhelming. I feel as though I’m helping in taking a big step for indigenous athletes to move more into winter sports rather than the normal summer sports and hopefully inspire more to follow in my footsteps.”
Windsor partnered with Alexandrovskaya in 2015 and the pair have been on fire since, claiming the 2017 World Junior Championship title.
Rounding out the quad will be 19-year-old Kailani Craine, the Newcastle native who still can’t quite comprehend her Olympic selection.
“I’ve worked so hard to achieve this goal and for it to finally be a reality is so amazing and crazy,” Craine said.
Now that her selection is sealed, Craine said she will focus on increasing the complexity of her routines.
“Now that I’ve qualified I feel like I can really focus on doing more technically difficult elements in my routines to really be competitive at the Games.
“I feel like this is such a special experience that not many people get to have. I’m so grateful and honoured to be announced on the Olympic Team and I am working so hard to make my country proud.”
The Figure Skaters will take to the Olympic stage early on in competition, donning their skates on the same day as the Opening Ceremony.