Israel began competing in the Winter Olympics in 1994 when figure skater Michael Shmerkin finished 16th in the men's individual competition at Lillehammer. Four years later, Sakanovsky and partner Galit Chait became Israel's first ice dancing pair at the Winter Olympics. At the 1998 Nagano Olympics, they finished in 14th place.
Chait and Sakanovsky returned to the Olympics in 2002 and opened the Games ranked No. 5 in the world. Given an outside shot at medalling prior to the Games, the Israeli pair finished sixth overall. Chait and Sakanovsky, who have 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).
Sakanovsky, who took up skating at the age of 4, won the World Junior Championships in 1993 and finished second in 1994 with partner Ekaterina Svirina. After emigrating to Israel from Russia in 1995, Sergei attended the University of Delaware, where he met and teamed with Galit Chait. The duo debuted as a team in 1996 and have steadily risen to become one of the top ice dancing pairs in the world.
After placing 18th at the 1997 World Championships, and 12th at the 1998 European Championships, Chait and Sakanovsky finished in third place at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in 1998. Following the Nagano Games, the Israeli duo finished sixth at the 2000 European Championships and fifth in the Worlds that year. In 2001, they finished fifth at the European Championships and fifth at the Worlds, and placed fifth at the 2002 European Championships.
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. May 15, 1975