Windsor the first indigenous Aussie at Winter Games

AFP, SYDNEY

Sat, Nov 11, 2017 - Page 16

Figure skater Harley Windsor said it was “super-overwhelming” after he was named as Australia’s first indigenous Winter Olympian, capping an unlikely rise after he first took to the ice in Sydney.

Windsor and his partner, Russian-born Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya, got the nod for Pyeongchang after being crowned world junior champions last season, claiming Australia’s first global figure skating title.

Windsor, 21, and his 17-year-old partner do not even speak the same language, but they will represent Australia at the Games in South Korea in February next year — provided Alexandrovskaya receives her Australian citizenship in time.

“It’s a huge thing just making it to the Olympics and on top of that, being the first indigenous athlete is super-overwhelming — I couldn’t be more proud,” Windsor told reporters. “When we first started I didn’t expect we would show results so quickly, but we improved really, really fast.”

Windsor was considered too tall as a teenager to be a singles skater and his Russian coaches, keen to keep him in the sport, began a search for someone to be his partner in a pair.

They tracked down Moscow-based Alexandrovskaya, who had been overlooked by the Russian system and, after a trial, she agreed to switch countries.

“The Olympics was still very up in the air until this season, but we had a goal and we were training really well and halfway through the season the possibility became a reality,” Windsor said. “We have progressed a lot this year. We’re a lot more mature on the ice and we don’t look like a junior pair any more.”

Their coach Galina Pachin believes the pair can finish in the top 15 at their first Olympics.