Experts to probe lack of Israeli Olympic medals

C'tee will examine preparations, present recommendations ahead of 2016 Rio Games; Knesset c'tee to discuss Olympic losses.

Israeli Olympic delegation 370 (photo credit: Mark Neyman/GPO)
Israeli Olympic delegation 370
(photo credit: Mark Neyman/GPO)
A committee of experts will investigate why Israel did not win any medals at the Summer Olympics for the first time since the 1992 Barcelona Games, Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat announced on Wednesday.
The panel will look into any failures in preparation for the London Olympic Games – even though greater funds were invested in the team than ever before – as well as what lessons can be learned ahead of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“I have great esteem for all of the athletes on Israel’s team. Every one of them worked hard and put in the greatest effort in order to win a medal, and for that the Israeli public and I are thankful,” Livnat said.“Although we did not win a medal, some of the athletes had impressive accomplishments and showed incredible capabilities in competing against their rivals.”
Livnat also sent good luck wishes to the Israeli athletes who are still competing in London.
The minister said that following the great efforts and expense the government put into the Olympics, it is important to thoroughly examine any professional shortcomings in preparing for the Games.
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The new committee will include Israeli and international experts, who will compile a report that will be the basis for preparations for the 2016 Olympics.
Also on Wednesday, Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee chairwoman Einat Wilf said she plans to discuss Israel’s lack of medals at the 2012 Games.
Kadima MK Yoel Hasson wrote Wilf a letter on Tuesday night, asking her to hold a meeting with Livnat as well as Olympic athletes, members of the Israel Olympic Committee and Finance Ministry representatives.
The purpose of such a meeting would be to “discuss the failures of our team and examine possible ways to prevent an additional embarrassment in the 2016 Olympics,” according to Hasson.
“The lack of government investment in sport is a continuing injustice, which the public realizes every four years when time after time Israeli athletes fail in different competitions,” he wrote. “We need a discussion in the committee in order to decide what steps can be taken to change the current worrying and painful reality of Israeli sports.”
Wilf agreed to hold the meeting; however, she ensured that the committee would not refer to the lack of medals as a failure.
The meeting will be in September, because her committee reached the maximum number of meetings scheduled per month of the Knesset’s summer recess.