JERUSALEM (VINnews) — For the first time in 17 years and only for the second time in its history, Israel has won a gold medal at the Olympics. Israeli gymnast Artem Dolgopyat won the gold medal Sunday, beating out tough Spanish and Chinese competition in the artistic gymnastics floor exercise competition to take the top spot on the Tokyo 2020 podium.
Dolgopyat, a 24-year-old who has already twice been a silver medalist at the World Championships, immigrated to Israel from Ukraine at the age of 12 and served in the Israeli army as an outstanding athlete, enabling him to serve half a day and to travel to competitions as well as to train once a week in army frameworks. Dolgobyat’s grandmother is Jewish which enabled his parents to immigrate under the Law of Return.
Dolgopyat edged out Spanish contender Rayderley Miguel Zapata, who like him scored 14.933 in his final exercise but Dolgopyat’s routine was considered more difficult, earning him a slender 0.100 point lead. China’s Xiao Ruoteng received the bronze medal.
Dolgopyat ranked first in the qualifying event after scoring 15.2.
Dolgobyat’s winning routine
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett interrupted a cabinet meeting and made a special call to Dolgobyat to congratulate him on his win, with all the cabinet ministers applauding at the same time.
President Herzog also called Dogobyat to congratulate him, later tweeting: “Artem, you champion, you made history today!”
Speaking to reporters after the medal ceremony, Dolgopyat said he was “speechless.”
“I’m still in the sky and it’s hard to come down,” he said, thanking supporters in Israel and saying, “I love you all.”