19-year-old Hailey Kops is set to represent Israel in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. The West Orange, NJ native is thrilled to be skating in the pairs competition. “It had always been a dream of mine to skate for Israel. As a Jewish religious girl raised modern Orthodox, I know that Israel is our home,” she said. She and her partner, Evgeni Krasnopolski have only been training together for three months, but already finished in the top three in a qualifying event. Skating since she was three, Kops learned from her mother, who is also a champion figure skater. After quitting skating for a bit in her teens and attending an Orthodox Jewish seminary in Israel, she got a call, asking to partner with three-time Olympian Krasnopolski. Although maintaining Shabbos while skating competitively has been a challenge, she makes use of local Chabad houses and walks to competitions. “It’s nice for me to feel that I can still be religious and compete. In the past it was very difficult, but now it’s normal for me to keep Shabbat, keeping kosher, and it’s something I really want to hold on to,” she said. Read more here.
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