Artem Dolgopyat wins gymnastics gold for Israel, its second ever in an Olympics
By EMILY BURACK
(JTA) — Israeli men’s gymnast Artem Dolgopyat took home the Olympic gold medal in floor exercise Sunday, giving Israel its second-ever gold in any Olympic event.
Born in Dnipro, Ukraine, Dolgopyat moved with his family to Israel when he was 12 and began training at Maccabi Tel Aviv, an acclaimed sports club that has produced multiple Olympians. The Associated Press had predicted that he would win gold at the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics (and that six other Israeli athletes or teams would medal during the games).
Until Sunday, the only gold medal ever won by an Israeli was Gal Fridman’s 2004 gold in windsurfing.
“You have made great history here. We stopped the Cabinet meeting in the middle to congratulate you because you have brought this enormous news,” said Prime Minister Naftali Bennett over the telephone to Dolgopyat. “On behalf of the Government of Israel and the citizens of Israel, we are all proud of you and are awaiting your return to Israel in order to celebrate. Thank you and good luck.”