Arik Ze’evi will become just the third Israeli to participate in four Olympics in London and he has made no secret of his plan to retire after the Games.

The 35-year-old’s career looked to be as good as over after his early exit from the Beijing Games four years ago, but the bronze medalist from the 2004 Athens Olympics eventually elected to prolong his career and will once more enter the Olympics as one of Israel’s better medal hopes.

Ze’evi was crowned European champion for the fourth time in his career in April, beating Georgia’s Levan Zhorzholiani in the final of the under-100kg competition in Chelyabinsk, Russia.

Ze’evi overcame innumerable injuries and regained the continental title eight years after last winning it.

Not only is Ze’evi an Israeli legend, but he will also be remembered as one of Europe’s most eminent judokas after taking his ninth total medal in the continental championships, also claiming gold in 2001, 2003 and 2004, a silver in 2005 and bronze in 1999, 2007, 2008 and 2010.

However, Ze’evi knows that his latest gold medal guarantees him nothing in London, especially as many of his rivals are not European.

"I’m proud of my achievement, but I know that it has little meaning as far as the Olympics are concerned,” Ze’evi noted.

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The last time Ze’evi won the continental gold he went on to scale the podium at the Olympics a few months later, but eight years is a long time in any sport, not to mention judo.

However, if any Israeli athlete deserves to end his career on such a high, it is Ze’evi, and you can be certain he will leave no stone unturned in his final chance at glory.

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