Introducing Israel’s Olympians: Yakov Toumarkin

100m and 200m backstroke swimmer has broken through in a stunning manner in the past year.

Yakov Toumarkin 370 (photo credit: reuters)
Yakov Toumarkin 370
(photo credit: reuters)
Toumarkin’s talent has been clear for all to see for many years, but few expected him to break through in such a stunning manner over the past year.
The 20-year-old proved he is the star of the present, not just the future, when he became the first Israeli to win two medals in a single European Championship, finishing third in both the 100m and 200m backstroke in Debrecen, Hungary, in May.
Toumarkin, who was also a double medalist in both the Youth Olympics and European Junior Championships two years ago, set impressive Israeli records in both events in Debrecen, touching the wall after 54.14 seconds in the 100m, and clocking a time of 1:57.35m in the 200m.
“This is a big surprise and a big success for me,” Toumarkin said at the time.
“I didn’t think I would be able to scale the podium ahead of the championships, but I felt I could do it during the event and I realized my dream. Now my sights are set on the Olympics where I hope to become the second Israeli swimmer to reach a final.”
To date, only one Israeli has participated in a final of an individual swimming event at the Olympics, with Eitan Urbach making the 100m backstroke final in the 2000 Sydney Games.
Just a year ago it seemed impossible that Toumarkin could become the second in London.
However, after his recent accomplishments he enters the Olympics believing everything is possible, and in his case, there is every reason to believe it truly is.
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