Eight young figure skaters announced to Team Canada’s Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Team
OTTAWA (December 5, 2023) – Skate Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee have announced Canada’s figure skating team selected to compete at the Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games.
The Team Canada figure skating team for the Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games is:
Audra Gans (Prévost, Que.) and Michael Boutsan (Prévost, Que.)
Caroline Kravets (Kitchener, Ont.) and Jacob Stark (Waterloo, Ont.)
David Li (Richmond, B.C.)
Annika Behnke (Peace River, Alta.) and Kole Sauve (Grand Prairie, Alta.)
Kaiya Ruiter (Calgary, Alta.)
The athletes were selected based on their performances at various junior international competitions in 2023 and the age requirement for these Games.
National Team member Kaiya Ruiter brings the most international experience to the figure skating team. The 2023 Canadian National Skating Championships silver medallist competed at her first senior ISU Grand Prix event in late October. Most recently, she finished second at the 2023 Autumn Classic International competition in Montreal. In March 2023, the 17-year-old had the opportunity to compete at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships in her hometown of Calgary where she skated to a top-10 finish.
“I feel honoured and beyond excited to be named to Canada’s Youth Olympic Games Team,” said Ruiter. “My dream, and what drives my training, is to represent Canada on the grandest stages in figure skating. With this opportunity, I get to compete on the same ice where my idol, Kaetlyn Osmond, won two Olympic medals. I am so proud, and I will do my best for myself, my family and Canada. Thank you to everyone who has supported me to make this dream come true.”
David Li, a recipient of the Canadian Olympic Foundation’s Toller Cranston Award in 2022, kicked off his international competition season with a silver medal in the junior men’s event at the 2023 Cranberry Cup. He proceeded to compete at two ISU Junior Grand Prix events where he finished in the top-10 at both. In 2022, the 15-year-old won a gold medal at his first-ever international overseas event — the Egna Spring Trophy in Italy — where he competed in the novice men’s event.
“Being named to the team and having the opportunity to compete in the Youth Olympic Games is an immense honour and a culmination of years of hard work, dedication and passion for my sport,” said Li. “This represents not only a personal achievement but also a chance to represent my country at a very high level of sport. The prospect of participating in the Youth Olympic Games fills me with excitement and gratitude, as it provides a unique platform to connect with athletes from around the world and share experiences.”
Each of Team Canada’s ice dance teams competed at an ISU Junior Grand Prix event this fall, gaining valuable experience that will serve them well in Gangwon. Fifteen-year-old Audra Gans and 14-year-old Michael Boutsan, who train at the Ice Academy of Montreal, made their ISU Junior Grand Prix debut at the Solidarity Cup in Gdansk, Poland, and are excited to perform their free dance to music composed by three-time Olympic medallist Eric Radford in Gangwon. Long-time partners Caroline Kravets, 15, and Jacob Stark, 17, who have skated together for more than five years, made their ISU Junior Grand Prix debut in Budapest this past September. The team trains at the Kitchener-Waterloo Skating Club.
The pairs team of Annika Behnke and Kole Sauve, who train in Sherwood Park, Alta., made their international debut at the 2023 Trophée Métropole Nice Côte d’Azur. They were also bronze medallists at the 2023 Novice Canadian Championships.
“Skate Canada is pleased to send a young talented team with a range of experience to the Winter Youth Olympic Games,” said André Bourgeois, NextGen Director for Skate Canada. “Canada will be sending one of the larger figure skating teams to the Games and we are excited to see our young skaters compete on the international stage while gaining valuable experience.”
Figure skating will take place January 27 to February 1 (Days 8 to 13) at the Gangneung Ice Arena — the same venue that was used for figure skating at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. One of the final medal events of Gangwon 2024 will be the figure skating team event, which will make its Youth Olympic Games debut. The mixed NOC figure skating team event was on all previous editions of the Winter Youth Olympic Games sport program, but has been replaced for Gangwon 2024 to more closely resemble the figure skating team event format at the Olympic Winter Games.
Team Canada figure skaters have won two medals at the Winter Youth Olympic Games, both in the mixed NOC team event. To date, Team Canada has converted three Youth Olympic figure skaters into Olympians – Marjorie Lajoie, Zachary Lagha, and Roman Sadovsky, who all competed at the Lillehammer 2016 edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games and became Olympians at Beijing 2022.
“Congratulations to the athletes named to Canada’s figure skating team at the Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games,” said Lisa Weagle, Team Canada’s Gangwon 2024 Chef de Mission. “Their talent and dedication reflect the bright future of figure skating in Canada. Their performances will not only showcase their individual skills but also inspire others to chase their dreams. As Chef de Mission, I am incredibly proud to support them on this remarkable journey and I wish them every success as they shine on the Youth Olympic Games stage.”
Team Canada’s figure skating alternate athletes, coaches and support staff for the Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games are:
Auréa Cinçon-Debout (Montreal, Que.) and Earl Jesse Celestino (Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que.) – Ice Dance Alternates
Victoria Carandiuc (Saint-Constant, Que.) and Andrei Carandiuc (Saint-Constant, Que.) – Ice Dance Alternates
Grayson Long (Oakville, Ont.) – Men’s Singles Alternate
David Bondar (Richmond Hill, Ont.) – Men’s Singles Alternate
Justine Miclette (Chambly, Que.) – Women’s Singles Alternate
Hetty Shi (Northville, Michigan) – Women’s Singles Alternate
Élise Hamel (Montreal, Que.)
Scott Davis (Calgary, Alta.)
André Bourgeois (Toronto, Ont.) – Team Leader
The Youth Olympic Games (YOG) are the world’s largest multi-sport event for high-performance young athletes aged 15-18. Gangwon 2024 will begin on January 19 and will end on February 1, 2024 and will feature 1900 athletes. Gangwon 2024 will be the fourth edition of the Winter YOG and the first in Asia. It will have a fully gender-balanced sporting program, and will feature seven sports, 15 disciplines, and a total of 81 events.
Prior to being named to Team Canada, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Team Selection Committee following its receipt of nominations by all National Sport Organisations.
Karine Bédard, Director of Communications & Brand
Tara MacBournie, Team Canada Gangwon 2024 Communications Lead
Canadian Olympic Committee