Photo Credit: IDF / Twitter
Israeli Olympic gold medalist in rhythmic gymastic Linoy Ashram, Tokyo 2020 Summer Games

Israeli world champion rhythmic gymnast Linoy Ashram, age 22, made history this weekend as she won gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

“I’m Israeli of Yemenite and Greek parents,” she told reporters, “so I wanted to prove to everyone that although I am unusual in this field I will go far.”

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Linoy set her routine to the spirited “Hava Nagila” melody which is known around the world. When she realized that she had won gold, Ashram leaped into the arms of her coach, who whirled her around and around as teammates jumped for joy.

Ashram’s finest moment came when she watched the flag of the State of Israel rise with those of the silver and bronze medalists Dina Averina of Russia and Lina Harnasko of Belarus, to the tune of Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem, as she stood with the other champions on the podium.

Linoy Ashram is the first Israeli woman to win Olympic gold, and the first-ever non-Russian rhythmic gymnast to win Olympic gold. Her victory brings home to Israel the first-ever Olympics gold medal in women’s gymnastics, and the fourth medal overall in this year’s Summer Olympics.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett congratulated Ashram, telling her that she is “a real-life Wonder Woman,” and “magnificent.

“You made the entire nation happy,” Bennett said in a telephone conversation with Ashram on Saturday night. “We received the news after Shabbat and celebrated here at home,” he said.

“I know that the entire country is proud of you. I also know what you have gone through, the ups and the downs.

“Many children in Israel are watching you and see you as a true wonder woman, an example of effort and hard work. We love you very much and wish you much success in the future. Thank you, wonder woman,” he said.

“There are many ups and downs along the way but good things overcome it,” Ashram responded. “I am really very happy to be an example for children and young people in the country.”

Prime Minister Bennett asked Ashram if she had been vaccinated against the coronavirus and was pleased to hear that she has received both doses. He asked her to use her position to motivate young people in Israel to join in the national vaccination effort.

Mazel tov, Linoy!!

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.