A look back at YOG’s Sochi Stars
With a record-breaking number of Youth Olympic Games (YOG) athletes set to compete at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, we look back at some of the YOG stars who shone at Sochi 2014.
More than 60 young athletes who took part in the inaugural Winter YOG Innsbruck 2012 went on to compete at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, with some even making it to the podium. Here, we pick out some of the most memorable performers…
Short-track speed skater Shim Suk-Hee, of the Republic of Korea, underlined her status as a rising star of the sport in Sochi by topping the podium alongside her team-mates in the women’s 3,000m relay. Aged just 17 at the time, Shim also won silver in the 1,500m and bronze in the 1,000m to cap a hugely impressive Olympic debut, following on from her starring role at the Winter YOG Innsbruck 2012 when she won two golds and a bronze. Since Sochi, Shim has become one of the most successful athletes in short-track speed skating, with eight world championship gold medals to her name.
The German ski jumper narrowly missed out on an individual medal at the Winter YOG Innsbruck 2012 – finishing fourth – but did secure gold in the team event alongside Katharina Althaus and Tom Lubitz. He enjoyed similar success in Sochi, topping the podium in the men’s large hill team event – alongside Andreas Wank, Marinus Kraus and Severin Freund – and continues to impress on the senior circuit. In addition to three medals at the 2017 Ski Jumping World Championships, including gold in the mixed team normal hill event and silver in both the large and normal hill individual events, Wellinger now has three individual World Cup wins and 23 podium finishes, while he also finished second at the prestigious Four Hills tournament earlier this year.
Aged just 18 at the time of the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, Japanese snowboarder Taku Hiraoka probably never dreamt of finishing ahead of two-time Olympic champion Shaun White in the men’s halfpipe. But that’s exactly what happened at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, with Hiraoka scoring a superb 92.25 on his second run in the final to beat the US Olympic legend (90.25) to the bronze medal behind compatriot Ayumu Hirano (93.50) and Switzerland’s Iouri Podladtchikov (94.75).