It was a proud moment for Australians who tuned into watch the opening ceremonies of PyeongChang 2018 on Friday evening.
Newcastle native heads to Winter Olympics
While the Winter Olympic Games tend to wax and wane in popularity amongst Australian viewers, this year people from across the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle have reason to watch with rapt attention.
Our very own, Kailani Craine, a 2016 graduate of St Francis Xavier's College, is in PyeongChang to compete in her first Olympic Games. The 19-year-old figure skater joins Brendan Kerry, Ekaterina ‘Katia’ Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor in representing Australia in this year’s Winter Olympics Games.
Watching Kailani walk in the Parade of Nations, along with the other athletes representing our country, was a point of pride for all of us across the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle in general and in particular for those teachers and students who knew Kailani in her school days.
“It is a particularly joyous occasion for all of us in the Catholic school community to see a former SFX student such as Kailani succeed in her chosen field of endeavour,” says Michael Slattery, Director of the Catholic Schools Office.
Preparing for the Olympics
Ahead of the Olympics Games, Kailani headed to her local ice rink in Warners Bay for one final lap around the ice, where she was interviewed by the Newcastle Herald before heading off to South Korea.
To Kailani, it seemed only fitting that the Hunter Ice Skating Stadium be the last place she skates before travelling to PyeongChang. HISS was where her figure skating journey began more than a decade ago when Kailani took to the ice as an 8-year-old and immediately fell in love with the sport.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Kailani told the Newcastle Herald. “This is where I should be leaving for the Games.”
Realising her dreams and going for gold at the Olympic Games
The Olympic Games are the next logical step for a competitor of Kailani’s calibre.
As an elite athlete, Kailani has won eight Australian figure skating championships at both the junior and senior level. She also managed to clinch the gold medal at the 2017 Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany.
With the opening ceremonies marking the official beginning of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, Kailani will be preparing to compete against the world’s best figure skaters before she takes to the ice for the Women’s Short Program on 21 February, and the Women’s Long Program on 23 February.
Kailani Craine and Team Australia at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games
Watch below as Kailani Arrives in South Korea ahead of last night’s opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.