Israel began competing in the Winter Olympics in 1994 when figure skater b>Michael Shmerkin finished 16th in the men's individual competition at Lillehammer. Four years later, Chait and partner Sergei Sakanovsky became Israel's first ice dancing pair at the Winter Olympics. At the 1998 Nagano Olympics, they finished in 14th place.
The Israeli pair returned to the Olympics in 2002 as a much stronger team and opened the Games ranked No. 5 in the world. Given an outside shot at medaling prior to the Games, Chait and Sakanovsky finished sixth overall. The pair, who increased the popularity and competitiveness of ice dancing in Israel were joined at the Salt Lake City Games by Israel's second ice dancing pair, Alexei Beletsky and Natalia Gudina (who finished 19th).
Born in Israel, Chait moved to New Jersey as a child with her parents. When she was eight years old, her parents took her to the skating rick at Rockefeller Center in New York City for fun and Galit fell in love with skating. In the early 1990s, she went to Russia with her father who had organized a sports camp; while there, she was introduced to ice dancing and found she enjoyed skating with a partner. She initially competed with Maxim Sevostianov, finishing sixth at the U.S. Nationals and 28th at the World Championships in 1994.
While attending the University of Delaware in the mid-1990s, however, Chait met and teamed up with Sergei Sakanovsky. Chait and Sakanovsky debuted as a team in 1996 and have steadily risen to become one of the top teams in the world. After placing 18th at the 1997 World Championships, and 12th at the 1998 European Championships, they finished in third place at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in 1998. After the Nagano Games, the duo finished sixth at the 2000 European Championships and fifth in the World Championships. In 2001, Chait and Sakanovsky finished fifth at the European Championships and sixth at the Worlds.
In 2002, the pair finished fifth at the European Championships and looked poised to challenge for a medal in Salt Lake City. Chait said of representing Israel, "The psychological part of skating sometimes is more challenging because in our case, we are representing Israel, so you know everyone is watching, which can be nerve-wracking."
In 2003, Chait and Sakanovsky finished fifth at the ISU Grand Prix final in St. Petersburg. They followed that up with a sixth place finish at the European Championships.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. Jan. 29, 1975