Russia Protests Israeli Linoy Ashram’s Gold Medal Win

In case you missed it: Israeli rhythmic gymnast Linoy Ashram won Israel’s third-ever Olympic gold medal yesterday.

And while Israel is over the moon, there are those – not just the usual haters – who are furious:

The president of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) announced on Saturday that the organization will seek a probe into the judging process for the rhythmic gymnastics individual all-around event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, in which Israel’s Linoy Ashram bested three-time world champion Dina Averina for the gold medal.

“We would like to have answers to a number of questions,” wrote ROC President Stanislav Pozdnyakov on his Instagram account, in a post cited by Russia’s Tass News Agency.

“We will seek a thorough probe into the judging situation at the Olympics by the relevant technical committee. We will make every effort to ensure the transparency of this process and make its results public,” he added.

Pozdnyakov said the country would lodge the complaint with the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG).

The ROC had earlier expressed outrage over Averina’s loss, calling it an “injustice.” On Twitter, the organization also posted a statement by Averina that read, in part: “My conscience is clear, I still believe that I won.”

Prominent Russians accused the judges of bias. “Dina didn’t lose, she won. But unfortunately the judging was egregiously unjust,” Irina Viner, president of the Russian Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation, said in comments to RT, a Kremlin-backed TV channel.

“It was simply a disgrace to rhythmic gymnastics,” said the coach.

Viner claimed that the judges supported Ashram. “Enough, they got tired of Russia. And the judges decided to support this Israeli woman.”

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova fumed, accusing the judges of committing “forgery in front of the whole world.”

“Those who started the Russophobic war against the sport could not allow this victory,” Zakharova said on messaging app Telegram.

Ashram, 22, led the finals for rhythmic gymnastics for the first three rounds with almost flawless performances, and clung on despite a mistake in her closing ribbon routine to win with 107.800 points overall, just 0.150 ahead of Averina.

Averina had needed to score at least 24.15 points for her ribbon routine, but despite what the Russians said was an “excellent” performance, she scored 24 points and finished in second place.

Ashram’s win ended Russia’s decades-long dominance in rhythmic gymnastics, and she became the first Israeli woman to ever win an Olympic gold medal, Israel’s third-ever gold at the games.

For the record:

Also for the record:

Besides, drugs cheats in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

Also, how rich to hear the Russian foreign ministry accusing the judges of committing “forgery in front of the whole world.” That’s their thing.


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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