Raisman wins second gold, Kiwi sailor wins first
LONDON — Jewish-American gymnast Alexandra “Aly” Raisman won her second gold medal of the London Olympics with a first place finish in the floor exercise.
Earlier, she won a bronze medal in women’s beam to go along with a gold in the women’s team event.
“Today has been a dream come true,” Raisman said.
“I’m so glad I got the medal I wanted. It was the best routine I’ve ever done. My coach said it was the best routine he’d ever seen me do.
“To have won a gold medal, two gold medals [one in the team final], is really special.”
Speaking to reporters following her gold-medal performance, Raisman said she supported a moment of silence at the Olympics for the Israelis killed at the 1972 Munich Games.
“Having that floor music wasn’t intentional,” she said of her choice of the Jewish folk song, Havah Nagilah, for her routine.
“But the fact it was on the 40th anniversary is special, and winning the gold today means a lot to me. If there had been a moment’s silence, I would have supported it and respected it.”
Later last week, New Zealand Jewish sailor Jo Aleh earned a gold medal in the women’s 470 regatta.
Aleh, 26 – whose parents are dual citizens of Israel and New Zealand – and partner Polly Powrie finished far ahead of the second-place British duo of Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark in the gold medal race.
Aleh, a former national champion and 2007 world champion, finished seventh at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. She’s a member of Beth Shalom, a Progressive congregation in Auckland, according to New Zealand Jewish Council President Stephen Goodman.
Her father, Shuki, flew in from Israel and her mother, Daniella, who lived in Israel for eight years, arrived from New Zealand earlier this week.
Aleh has a half-sister, Shefa, and a half-brother, Yaam, in Israel. Her parents met in Israel after they completed their military service, but were married in New Zealand.
Lee Korzits, Israel’s last realistic hope for a medal at the 2012 Olympics, finished ninth in the crucial medal race of her RS:X windsurfing event. Spain’s Marina Alabau took the gold, with Korzits finishing sixth overall.
Her disappointing finish means Israel would end the London Olympics without a medal. Israel had won at least one medal at every summer games since Yael Arad stood on the podium in Barcelona in1992, when the judoka won the first-ever medal – a silver – for the Jewish state.
Earlier, the Israeli men’s 470 tandem duo lost their chances of winning a medal. Eran Sela and Gideon Kliger were disqualified in their ninth race, and finished 15th.
The women’s duo of Vered Buskila and Gili Cohen also finished 15th in the 470 tandem.
Meanwhile, Australian sprinter Steven Solomon ran out of steam in the 400 metres Olympic final.
Solomon trailed the pack and finished eighth in 45.14 seconds, his second-fastest time and just 0.17 seconds off his landmark semifinal time. The 19-year-old runner had posted two personal best times on his way to becoming the first Australian man in 24 years to qualify for a 400 metres Olympic final.
Solomon, who played soccer at the 2009 Maccabiah before taking up sprinting, said he was thrilled just to make the final.
“I’m really happy,” he told Australia’s Channel Nine TV. “Although I came last in the final, I got to the final. I gave it absolutely everything I had.”
And he heaped praise on his Jewish Ukrainian coach, 78-year-old Fira Dvoskina, who could not travel to London but was coaching him via Skype.
“It just shows what a master she is,” he said. “She can still get a 19-year-old into the final.”
Also at the Olympics last week, Israeli rhythmic gymnast Neta Rivkin was in ninth place in the qualifying round after performing her hoop and ball routines.