Golden Art! Artem Dolgopyat takes first in floor exercise to become 2nd Israeli to win Olympic Gold

Aug 1, 2021 | Jews in Sports

Artem Dolgopyat captured the gold medal in the Artistic Gymnastics Floor Exercise to become the second ever Israeli to stand atop the podium at the Olympic Games. The 24-year old joined surfer Gal Fridman who won gold at the 2004 Athens games as the only two Israelis to ever capture a gold medal for the nation.

Dolgopyat had qualified for the finals with a magnificent floor exercise last Saturday as the Israeli scored an impressive 15.20 which was good for first place, but for the final round all scores are reset.

However, that didn’t make a difference for the Israeli as he performed a nearly flawless routine for a score of 14.933 to take first place matching Rayderley Zapata but due to the tie breaker, Dolgopyat vaulted ahead of Spaniard to capture the gold. China’s Ruoteng Xiao took the bronze with a score of 14.766.

“I don’t know what to say,” the Gold Medalist Dolgopyat said. “I still feel like I am sky high. I want to thank everyone for their support, it is so heartwarming. I wasn’t sure that my floor exercise was good enough to bring home a medal. I made history. I did it all for the people of Israel. I am so proud to represent Israel.”

The 24-year old Dolgopyat was able to qualify for the Tokyo Games by winning a silver medal in the floor exercise at the 2019 World Championships held in Stuttgart, Germany.

Artem’s passion for gymnastics goes back to the tender age of six when he first signed up to attend his local club in Dnirpo, Ukraine as he followed in his father’s footsteps who was a gymnast himself. In 2009, Dolgopyat’s family moved to Israel and settled in Tel Aviv where he quickly became a standout at the Maccabi sports club.

Dolgopyat continued to compete at the top youth competitions and finally broke through in 2017 when he won a silver medal in the floor exercise at the World Championships held in Montreal, Canada. That same year saw him also win medals at the Maccabiah Games with led him to medals in floor exercise both in 2018 and 2019 at the European Championships.

At the 2020 European Championships held in Turkey, Dolgopyat captured gold in the floor exercise and bronze in the vault as expectations were raised up a bar with the chances of winning a medal in Tokyo closer to reality which is exactly what happened.

Hanna Minenko – Photo Credit: Israel Olympic Committee

Despite recording her season best jump of 14.60, it wasn’t enough to take a place on the podium as Hanna Minenko finished the competition in 6th place. Yulimar Rojas from Venezuela broke the Olympic record with a distance of 15.41 on her first jump which stood until her jump in the 6th round where she set a world record of 15.67 to capture the gold medal. Patricia Mamona from Portugal leaped a distance of 15.01 to win the silver while Ana Peleteiro grabbed the bronze with a distance of 14.87.

Also in Athletics, Adva Cohen took part in the Steeplechase qualification round and finished in last place in heat 3 with a time of 10:05.95, which wasn’t good enough for the 25-year old to advance to the next round.

Noya Baram/Shachar Tibi – Photo Credit: Israel Olympic Committee

Noya Baram and Shachar Tibi continued along in races 7 and 8 in the Women’s Two-person Dinghy 470 Race but finished in 4th and 11th places respectively good for 8th place overall. The duo have collected 55 points and are 10 points off of 4th place overall with two more races remaining on Monday before the medal race. Should Baram and Tibi put in a solid performance they could be in the mix for the final races of the competition which is slated to be run on Wednesday.

Monday will see a number of competitors in action and a chance to add to the medal count:
6:00 Baseball – Israel vs South Korea
6:00 Sailing – Noya Baram/Shachar Tibi Women’s 470 Race 9,10
13:30 Artistic Swimming – Eden Blecher/Shelly Bobritsky
15:40 Women’s 5000m Final – Selamawit Teferi

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