RON Darmon will become the first Israeli to compete in the Olympic triathlon after reaching No. 52 in the world rankings..
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Israel has had plenty of runners compete in the Olympics. Swimmers, too.
In 2016, there will be nine on the track and six in the pool, not counting the synchronized swimming duo. The team also has two cyclists.
However, never has an Israeli competed at all three in a single Olympics.
Ron Darmon is poised to be the first.
In August, he’ll be the first triathlete to represent the country at the Olympic Games.
“Records can be broken but being the first one, that can never be taken away,” he said. “I’m pretty happy about that.”
Darmon grew up in a village called Lehavim, which is located in the northern part of the Negev Desert. It had only been a town for nine years when he was born.
He described it as a quiet and relaxing community that’s good for raising kids. When he lived there, the population was about 7,000, and it has remained at that level since. He said they would run for fun.
His whole family took part in triathlons as well, and his mom is on the Israeli Triathlon Association board, according to Darmon’s profile on thriathlon.org.
“It used to be kind of a hobby for the whole young generation,” he said. “It used to be just running and soccer and then one day, the teacher said bring a bike and we’ll do a swim, too.
“I sort of got addicted to it, I guess.”
Not many Israelis participate in triathlons.
He called it a “young sport” but said it’s developing. Darmon could be an instigator of this – seeing members of a community on the big stage inspire people, and he’s on the biggest after placing in the top ten in six races dating back to October 2015, winning two of them.
He didn’t expect to be in Rio. He always had his eye on Tokyo in 2020.
“That’s when athletes normally compete, when they’re 28 and I’m 23 now,” he said. “I’ll be pretty close to the prime age of triathlon.”
Instead, Rio will give him a chance to experience this type of event.
“They say the first time you come to learn it and the second time you come to medal,” he said. “For me it’s about learning, it’s about getting better as an athlete.”
He thinks his participation in the Olympics can inspire children to partake in triathlons, but it goes a little bit beyond that for him.
“I hope I can inspire kids to take triathlon and help our sport grow, but more important to me is that I hope I can inspire them to carve their own path and chase their dreams regardless of how big they are,” he said.