Gymnast Linoy Ashram, Israel's Only Women’s Olympic Gold Medalist, to Retire

'We are on the map. Israel is on the map. Our sport is on the map,' 22-year-old Ashram said after claiming gold in Tokyo last year

Ido Rakovsky
Ido Rakovsky
Linoy Ashram at the Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Bulgaria in 2018, early in her career before her rise to international stardom.
Linoy Ashram at the Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Bulgaria in 2018, early in her career before her rise to international stardom.Credit: Nir Keidar
Ido Rakovsky
Ido Rakovsky

Israeli rhythmic gymnast, Linoy Ashram, the country’s only women’s Olympic gold medalist, will announce her retirement next month.

During her short career, 22-year-old Ashram quickly became one of the greatest female Israeli athletes throughout the country's history. Her crowning achievement was her Olympic gold medal from Tokyo 2020. Beyond being Israel’s first and only women’s Olympic gold, it also knocked the Russians off their perch – the first time that a rhythmic gymnast from outside the post-Soviet republics won Olympic gold. She will officially retire on April 4.

Ashram’s career haul included a silver medal in the all-around event at the 2018 World Championships and bronze at the 2017 and 2019 World Championships. She was also the European champion in 2020 and in total claimed 17 career medals at major championships.

Despite a shaky start in the all-around individual event at Tokyo, Ashram managed to reach the finals from third place, where she shocked the world champion and favorite Dina Averina by finishing in first place with an overall score of 107.800, owing to an outstanding performance in both the ball and clubs disciplines.

After the win, she paraphrased basketball legend Tal Brody’s statement after Maccabi Tel Aviv’s iconic European Basketball Championship win in 1977: “We are on the map. Israel is on the map. Our sport is on the map,” Ashram said after claiming gold. “If until now this was a sport dominated by the Eastern Europeans, we can now say this is a sport for everyone. I think that my success has opened the door for so many young gymnasts from so many countries who never thought they could reach this kind of achievement. And this shows that anyone with a dream can succeed if they work hard.”

“Linoy Ashram is a great athlete, Israel Olympic Committee chair and Israel’s first-ever Olympic medalist, Yael Arad, told Haaretz. “She is an example for every child and represents Olympic excellence and all the values that build success. Linoy carried the Israeli flag at sports competitions at the highest level, and she is without a doubt an inspiration for the coming generations of Israeli sportsmen and women, and in particular in gymnastics. “

In Tokyo, Arad emphasized, Ashram had carried the weight of the “expectations of an entire nation and proved that she is made of the material of champions.”

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