The Olympic Games has come to an end, and it appears that many successes and disappointments have emerged in connection with the games.
Israel’s Olympic Team has also experienced some unexpected events that have become background stories to the Olympic events. For example, when the Belarus team was disqualified from the 4X100 freestyle swimming competition, the Israeli team was given the opportunity to participate in its place. The Israeli team had received the good news only a few days before the Olympic Games were to begin but, before being able to fly to Rio, the team had to obtain the authorization of Israel’s Olympic Committee, which gave it the green light only a few days before the games started. It is the first time a relay swimming team has represented Israel in the Olympic Games. The big winner in this dramatic chain of events was Keren Siebner, who was the 48th participant in Israel’s Olympic delegation, the largest in the country’s history.
Just before the start of the games, AP in collaboration with USA Today published the names of the anticipated medalists in Rio and predicted that Israeli judoka Sagi Muki would stand on the podium as a medalist for his country. Muki, who began to train in judo at age 4, made his breakthrough in 2012 when he won two bronze medals in world tour tournaments in Madrid and Lisbon. In 2014, he won a gold medal in the Grand Slam tournaments in Baku, Azerbaijan and Havana, adding that year two silver medals to his collection at Astana, Kazakhstan, and Jeju, South Korea respectively; as a result of his achievements in 2014, he reached second place in the world ranking. A year later, he attained two bronze medals in the Grand Slam tournaments in Germany and Zagreb. However, his performance in Rio was disappointing, and he did not win any medal for Israel. Two other athletes from Israel’s Judo Team surprised the audience when they managed to bring glory to their country with two Olympic medals. In their respective weight categories, Yarden Gerbi and Or Sasson won bronze respectively and raised Israel’s overall medal count of Olympic to nine. On returning to Israel, the two Olympic medalists were greeted at Ben-Gurion International Airport by a cheering crowd of 1,000, who brought with them balloons, signs and flowers, to express their appreciation to the two athletes.
The five members of Israel’s rhythmic gymnastics team – Yuval Filo, Ida Mayrin, Alona Koshevaskiy, Ekaterina Levina and Karina Lykhvar – is one of the world’s top teams in the field of rhythmic gymnastics. In recent years, Israel’s rhythmic gymnastics team has won a lot of prizes. In 2014 it earned a bronze medal in the European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Baku and 2015 returned to Baku, where it received a silver medal in the European Games there. In the recent European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships held in Israel, the team’s members astounded the country when they won a gold medal in the clubs and loops category, a silver medal for their ribbons routine and a bronze medal in the all-around competition.