Gymnast Alex Shatilov will try and bring home Israel's most prestigious Olympic medal ever when he competes in the final of the men's floor exercise on Sunday. While Israel has won a total of seven medals since its first in 1992, a medal in gymnastics would be considered particularly prestigious.
Just 10 years after immigrating to Israel, 25-year-old Shatilov is considered one of the favorites for Sunday's final. Speaking to Israel Hayom ahead of the final, Shatilov said, "I was younger and physically weaker at the last Olympics. Four years ago, I also decided not to try for the final of the all-around, even though I qualified, so that I could instead prepare fully for the floor exercise final. This time, I used the final of the all-around to try and improve several points in my floor exercise."
When asked how he was feeling ahead of the final, Shatilov said "the dress rehearsal was good and I might try a different performance. I need to add a few more points to my score from the qualifying rounds in order to win a medal. Everyone is at a really high level and the ones who make the least mistakes will win the medals."
When asked about his chances for a medal, Shatilov said "there's always a chance. In the qualifying round, I made a small mistake — nothing major — but managed to get through to the final. Now I need a higher score in order to get a medal — and after getting through the qualifiers, I won't make do with anything less than a medal."
At sea too, Israel still has a good shot at an Olympic medal in the shape of Lee Korzits in the women's RS:X sailing. Korzits was in second place overall going into Sunday's leg of the competition, after placing second and first in Saturday's races.
Shahar Tzuberi, another Israeli windsurfer, was eliminated from the men's RS:X on Saturday. The Beijing bronze medalist finished in 20th place overall.
Gil Cohen and Vered Bouskila will need a strong performance in Sunday's women's 470 sailing event to go through to the top ten and have a chance at a medal. They are currently in 15th place overall. In the men's event, Gidi Kliger and Eran Sela are currently in 11th place overall, while Nufar Edelman went out of the women's laser radial after placing 30th out of 41.
The first-ever Israeli to compete in an Olympic athletics competition, U.S.-immigrant Donald Sanford, came fifth in his round of Friday's 400-meters. Even though he ran his fastest time of the year, 45.71 seconds, it wasn't fast enough to qualify for the semifinals.
Sanford also claimed that his running shoes had been stolen. Canadian sprinter Daundre Barnaby lent Sanford his shoes, but Sanford was left fuming on the starting line and fiddled with the shoes right up until the starting pistol went off.