Israeli Gymnast Linoy Ashram Wins European Championship

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Linoy Ashram of Israel at the end of the hoop routine that won her the European rhythmic gymnastic championship.
Linoy Ashram of Israel at the end of the hoop routine that won her the European rhythmic gymnastic championship in Kyiv, Ukraine, Nov. 29, 2020.Credit: Efrem Lukatsky/AP

Linoy Ashram of Israel won the European rhythmic gymnastics championship on Sunday in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, for the first time in her career in a nail-biting finish.

She ultimately beat out Alina Harnasko of Belarus in a tiebreaker after the two racked up 100.9 points each.

Generally such ties are decided based on the quality of the competitors’ performance, but the judges rated them equally on that basis as well. In such a rare instance, which has almost never happened at all-around competitions, the judges separately scored their technical performance and artistic performance, with technical performance deciding who won.

On that basis, Ashram, who was a favorite going into the competition due to the absence of Russian twins Dina and Arina Averina, came out on top and was awarded the gold medal.

She had been leading during the entire event, but in her third routine, on the ribbon apparatus, she committed an error and received 22.75 points.

She was followed by Harnasko, in her final routine, with the clubs, who racked up an exceptionally high 26.55 points. Linoy needed 26.5 to pull even, a feat that appeared impossible, but she did it, scoring exactly 26.5 points.

The judges then convened and split their evaluations between artistic and technical performance and declared the Israeli the gold medalist, leaving Harnasko with the silver.

Ashram, who had not competed for over a year going into the competition in Kyiv due to the coronavirus pandemic, was also awarded the Shooting Star award at the conclusion of the championships as an inspiration for future generations of gymnasts.

Her gold medal was the fifth awarded to a member of the Israeli senior team in four days of competition, which included a group gold medal for the Israeli team.

A number of prominent national teams, including those from Russia, Italy, Spain and Bulgaria, did not participate in the group competition this year.

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