In London 2012, Israel Stumbled, but the Olympics Soared

The defeat of some of Israel's top athletes, like windsurfer Lee Korzits, judoka Arik Ze'evi and gymnast Alex Shatilov is a symptom of the state of Israeli sports.

The Israeli Olympics team did not meet a single one of the goals set by the country's Olympic Committee. Israel's Olympic delegation to London was clearly a failure.

The defeat of top Israeli athletes, like windsurfer Lee Korzits, judoka Arik Ze'evi and gymnast Alex Shatilov, is symptomatic of the state of Israeli sports.

True, there were some highlights in gymnastics and swimming. Israel had four qualifiers for the gymnastics finals and a sixth-place finish for Shatilov with a seventh place for rhythmic gymnast Neta Rivkin. In swimming, Yakov Toumarkin took seventh in the 200-meter backstroke finals, becoming the highest-finishing Israeli swimmer in Olympic history, while Gal Nevo ended fourth in the semifinal of the men's 200-meter individual medley.

That's nice and all, but they were just a few points of light in the darkness. They were sparks of achievement that were dwarfed by Israel's overarching losses.

Still, overall, the London Olympics gets a high score. Unlike his predecessor as president of the International Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samaranch, current president Jacques Rogge doesn't talk about the best Games ever. Instead, he called the 2012 Games the most refreshing, saying "London has absolutely refreshed the Games."

This year's Olympics weren't as perfectly staged as those in Beijing, but there was a much better atmosphere, a genuine carnival feeling. The athleticism was outstanding, the crowd was wonderful (even if it was overly patriotic ) and the Olympics organizers were astoundingly nice, polite and obliging.

The much-feared security problems did not arise and even the organizational complications were resolved once everything got going.

Rio, the bar has risen for 2016.