One of 10 Israeli gymnasts at the Olympics, Valeria Maksyuta enters the London Games under little pressure. The 24-year-old made aliya from the Ukraine five years ago after an eye-catching performance in the 2005 Maccabiah.

Maksyuta made her breakthrough in 2011 and took a big step towards London with her showing in the All-Around competition in the Olympic Test Event at the O2 Arena in January, before taking medals in the vault and balance beam finals as well.

Maksyuta still had to meet the Olympic Committee of Israel’s criteria to book her place at the Olympics and did so by ending the All- Around final at the European Championships in ninth place, while also finishing the vault final in an impressive fourth position.

“Since the age of 14 I understood that gymnastics is my future,” Maksyuta said after qualifying for London 2012.

“The dream has always been to reach the Olympics and now that I have realized that I have no intention of stopping.

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“I’m not going to London for fun. I’m going with the clear goal of winning a medal in the vault.”

A podium finish will likely be out of Maksyuta’s reach, but progress to the vault final is certainly within her capabilities, as is qualification for the 24- gymnast All-Around final.

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