One of Israel’s hopefuls for an Olympic medal, Artem Dolgopyat, exceeded all expectations on Sunday by winning the gold medal in the artistic gymnastics floor exercise competition. In the final, he scored an impressive 14.933 points, beating out tough competition from Spain and China.
The Ukrainian-born athlete is the second Israeli Olympian to win a gold medal. In 2004, windsurfer Gal Friedman made history for Israel.
Israeli leaders sent messages to and phoned Dolgopyat, noting the immense pride surging through the nation at seeing him atop the podium and hearing the national anthem HaTikvah ringing out loud at the arena in Tokyo.
Other Israeli medal hopefuls included Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko, who competed in the women’s triple jump medal fight on Sunday afternoon, and the Jewish state’s baseball team, which routed Mexico 12-5 earlier in the day to reach the double round-robin phase before losing to the Dominican Republic.
Israel won three medals in this Olympic Games. In addition to Dolgopyat’s gold, Israel won the bronze in the team judo competition on Saturday, and teenage female Taekwondo fighter Avishag Semberg also brought home the bronze last week.