Orthodox girl from New Jersey named Israel’s next Olympic ice skater

The accomplishment comes despite two years having passed since Kops hung up her skates for good and only three months training with her partner. 

By World Israel News staff

Hailey Kops, a 19-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl from West Orange, New Jersey, is set to represent Israel in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, JNS reported.

Kops and her partner Evgeni Krasnopolski qualified for the pair’s ice-skating competition in the 2022 Olympics, becoming one of 19 other pairs to do so despite only having trained together for three months. The incredible accomplishment comes after a two-year hiatus in the young athlete’s career, after she had hung up her skates to achieve a more normal life.

Kops has been training since the age of three, when she began skating under her mother Lisa, a champion figure skater and coach. At the age of 13, she was invited to try out for Israel’s Ice-Skating Federation, which happens to hold its training in New Jersey.

The young girl tried out, made the team, and shortly thereafter received Israeli citizenship, JNS reported.

However, Kops – who had suffered many knee injuries – later decided to hang up her skates in 2019, citing having missed out on many experiences of growing up.

“I didn’t go to high school, and didn’t have a normal teenage life, so I decided to hang my skates up. It wasn’t fair to my team if I wasn’t ‘all in’ anymore,” she told JNS.

After a year-long seminary program in Israel, Kops returned to her New Jersey home this year when she received a phone call from the head of the Israeli Ice Skating Federation Boris Chait. He said Krasnopolski, 33, was in desperate need of a partner in order to attempt to qualify for this third Olympics.

She agreed and joined Krasnopolski. They had only trained together for three months before the qualifying competitions, beating out even powerhouse China, JNS reported.

The two are set to compete in the European Championships in January, before competing in the February Olympic competition.