0108_Israel Olympics
Israel hoped to add to its medal collection in London this summer. Photo by AP
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The Israelis pursuing gold in London this summer are part of a modest but respectable national tradition.

At the 1976 Summer Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada, track and field athlete Esther Roth became the first ever Israeli competitor to reach the finals in an Olympic event, although she failed to earn a medal.

At the Summer Games in Barcelona, Spain in 1992, Yael Arad broke new ground, earning the silver medal in judo. Her teammate, Oren Smadja, won the bronze medal.

Israeli Michael Kolganov won the bronze medal in canoeing at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia.

At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, Gal Fridman became Israel's first ever gold medalist, finishing first in men's windsurfing.  Friedman also won a bronze in 1996, and making him Israel's only multi-medalist.

Ariel Zeevi won the bronze medal in judo at the 2004 Summer Games in Athens and Shahar Tzuberi earned a bronze medal in men's windsurfing at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, China. Both Zeevi and Tzuberi are participating in the London Summer Olympic Games.

Israel joined Olympic competition in 1952, and has since competed in all the Summer Games, except in 1980, when it joined the American-led boycott of the Moscow Games. The country has participated in all the Winter Games since 1994, but has yet to medal in them.