The year that was / Israel's pride and joy
They overcame injuries and setbacks, and looked the greats straight in the eyes. 2010 was their year, and they belong to us.
Top achievement of 2010: Bronze medal in the 400-meter individual medley at the European Championships.
What was your greatest moment this year? "The European bronze. I prepared for this event the entire year, and fulfilled something I had dreamed of for a long time. It gave me a lot of satisfaction and took a lot of pressure off me."
What did you learn this year? "I learned mainly economics, getting a degree at Georgia Tech. Beside that, I learned that you need to work hard and often for what you want."
What are your expectations for next year? "I was sixth at the last World Championships, and the next are the last test before the Olympics. I'm striving to pass the guys ranked 3-5."
ALEX SHATILOV, ATHLETICS
Top achievement of 2010: Fourth place at the World Championships and second place in the world men's artistic gymnastics.
What was your greatest moment this year? "I recovered from injury, got back into shape and proved I'm still capable of competing at the highest level. I was forced to undergo surgery and wondered if I could jump again like I used to. At the world final I knew I was back."
What did you learn this year? "How to deal with adversity, injury and crises along the way. I saw that if you don't give up and keep training, it all works out in the end."
What are your expectations for next year? "To qualify for London at the 2011 World Championships by winning a medal."
DANIELLE FRENKEL, HIGH JUMP
Top achievement of 2010: Israeli record, first Israeli to reach a European Championships final.
What was your greatest moment this year? "The European Championships, my first big event. I was focused like crazy, so much so I don't exactly remember what happened there."
What did you learn this year? "To believe in my ability, that concentration is the most important thing for an athlete, and that you have to trust everyone surrounding you. Without them you won't get where you want to go."
What are your expectations for next year? "I want to put into action what I learned last year. It's no longer about trial and error but knowledge and targets."
NIMROD MASHIAH, WINDSURFING
Top achievement of 2010: Bronze medal at the World Championship and top ranking in the world Neil Pryde class.
What was your greatest moment this year? "The bronze at the World Championship. I was injured and didn't do well at the European Championship. I tried to focus on the inside rather than the physical aspect. The last day was a story in itself. I was disappointed that I blew a gold or silver, but after an hour I realized it was time to be happy."
What did you learn this year? "I learned that patience always pays off. The ability to stay focused over the long term is the whole story of this year. I discovered new physical and mental limits."
What are your expectations for next year? "The main goal is a medal in London, but along the way there's the European Championship and the World Championship.
SHAHAR PEER, TENNIS
Top achievement of 2010: Rising to no. 13 in the world - best ever for an Israeli tennis player.
What was your greatest moment this year? "The week in Dubai was unforgettable - regarding the emotions, the players I beat and everything that went on there. It's hard to explain what I went through with the security and not seeing anyone, but it was important to prove that I deserved to be there."
What did you learn this year? "I matured and grasped my situation much better. I realized it's my career, that it's something I chose to do and really enjoy."
What are your expectations for next year? "To maintain the momentum. I'll try to go much further than the round of 16 in the Grand Slams. I'll try to win tournaments and keep moving forward."
We didn't forget...
Omri Casspi - Selected to the NBA All-Star rookie team
Eran Zahavi - Star of Hapoel Tel Aviv, which advanced to the Champions League group stage
Israel's national women's volleyball team - Advanced to European Championship for first time since 1971
Bat-El Gatterer - Gold medalist at the European Taekwando Championships
Arik Zeevi - Bronze medalist at the European Judo Championships