Australia picks first indigenous Winter Olympian
November 9, 2017
Article from Australian Associated Press.
Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor come from opposite sides of the world and their personalities are about as different as their geographical backgrounds.
But the pair were destined to come together on the ice.
Western Sydney product Windsor will become Australia's first indigenous Winter Olympian at the Games in South Korea in February when he pairs with Alexandrovskaya, a Russian-born 17-year-old who received citizenship two weeks ago.
They have skated together for two years, winning this year's world junior championship and gaining Olympic qualification and selection - achievements which couldn't have been more surprising to Windsor.
"To be honest, at first, I didn't know it was going to go so well," Windsor, 21, said.
"But as we started skating more and more together, we started to figure each other out a bit more.
"I think it worked so well because she's a bit more fiery and I'm a bit more calm, so it kind of balances out."
Australia will take a four-strong figure skating team to Pyeongchang, with Brendan Kerry and Kailani Craine to compete individually.
The quartet are the first Australian team selections for the Games, confirmed on Thursday, with Sochi 2014 competitor Kerry the only with Olympic experience.
Windsor and Alexandrovskaya have played down their prospects for Pyeongchang, instead viewing their partnership in the long term.
"In terms of medals, yes and no. Our biggest thing is to skate two clean programs and whatever comes of it, comes of it," Windsor told AAP.
"These Olympics will be a very good learning experience for us.
"I personally want to go to three Olympics. I think our second Olympics will be very, very good for us. We'll be mentally and physically stronger."
Their coach Galina Pachin said she noticed immediately the pair had potential.
"When they first practised, straight away there was something special about them," Pachin said.
"They were both matching very well in body shape and timing and technique. Technically, they were both on the same level, which was speeding up their improvement.
"Harley is calmer and Katya always wants to do more, more, more. It's good because she always pushes him along. It's one is fire, one is water."
Pachin said Alexandrovskaya was pleased to have gained citizenship three months out from the Games and had settled happily into life in Australia.
Windsor, on the other hand, has his roots firmly entrenched in western NSW, from where his parents originate.
"I've grown up in an Aboriginal community and I've always been around Aboriginal culture," he said.
"That's been a huge, huge part of my life. As long as I can remember, I've always done Aboriginal dancing and been a part of the culture."