Changing the Course of Israeli History with Linoy Ashram
Whether you are a raving fan of the Olympics or a raving fan of Israel- or both! - you’ve probably been celebrating Israel’s grand appearance in this year’s summer Olympic games in Tokyo, taking home 2 gold medals, in addition to 2 bronze medals.
Israel has had a longstanding presence in the history of the Olympic games, but this summer’s games was the homerun for Israel, who reached new records for the country’s Olympic standing!
This year, the number of Israeli participants nearly doubled since the last summer games, with 89 Israelis competing in several new games, such as surfing, archery, and equestrian sports. Our bronze medals came rolling in with our national judo team and women's taekwondo competition.
But all eyes were on our gold medalists this summer, Linoy Ashram and Artem Dolgopyat, both participating in gymnastic sports. While Artem took home the gold for male floor exercises, Linoy snagged the gold by a hair in the women’s rhythmic individual all-around event, being the first Israeli women to win a gold medal in the history of the Olympic games!
Not only is Linoy the first woman from Israel to bear an Olympic gold medal, but the first Israeli to win a medal of any kind in rhythmic gymnastics, a sport that historically has been dominated and singularly won by Soviet participants- until now.
Linoy has stolen the show. With her grace, detailed technique and impeccable skill, the 22-year-old now has a collection of 48 medals in gymnastic competitions over the last 15 years- one being her prized gold medal, now a historical emblem of Israeli pride.
But it wasn’t an easy win for Ashram, originally from Rishon Letzion, where she lives with her parents and 3 siblings. With the dip she experienced in the qualifiers, Linoy’s comeback wasn’t certain, especially up against 2 twins from Russia, known for their talent and vigor. But, never deterred by bumps along the way, Ashram stayed focused, and gave each performance her all. With a modified Olympic set this year- no audience allowed- Linoy succeeded in bringing her all, even with her loved ones all the way back in Israel, rooting for her from afar!
Her win changed the course of history, for Israel, and for rhythmic gymnastics altogether.
Although there has been backlash from her Russian competitors questioning the validity of her win, and a slew of antisemitism as a result, Ashram and Israel continue to hold their heads high in pride in our well-earned win!