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
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.
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
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
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.