Allon Sinai's Beijing Diary: Grading the Israelis at the Games

Israel sent the biggest delegation in its history to the Beijing Olympics, but it won't be remembered as its best.

olympic torch lit 224 88 (photo credit: )
olympic torch lit 224 88
(photo credit: )
Israel sent the biggest delegation in its history to the Beijing Olympics, but it won't be remembered as its best. Now that the Games are over and the countdown for London 2012 truly begins, it's time to grade the performances of the Israelis at the Olympics. A+ Shahar Zubari - The fact that he's Israel's one and only medalist at the Games and just the sixth Israeli to scale the Olympic podium is especially amazing when considering that the 22-year-old isn't even supposed to peak until London 2012. Alon Mandel - You can disagree with his decision to remain at the Olympics despite his father's death, but you have to admire his courageous efforts in the Beijing pool. The 20-year-old broke the Israeli record in both his swims and his performance in Beijing will never be forgotten. A Gal Yekutiel - One more victory and the judoka would have had a '+' next to his grade and an Olympic medal around his neck, but the defeat in the bronze medal fight to Ruben Houkes doesn't erase what was an otherwise superb display. Alex Shatilov - Despite making a mess of his exercise in the floor final, the 21-year-old still became the first Israeli to compete in an individual artistic gymnastics Olympic final and finished in eighth position. Gal Nevo - Broke the Israeli record in both the 200m and 400m Individual Medley and finished in 13th and 11th place respectively, the highest finishes for an Israeli in the Beijing pool. Nike Kornicki and Vered Buskila - The 470 Class sailors came tantalizingly close to claiming a medal, finishing fourth overall. Irina Risenzon - Reached the final of the Individual All-Around Rhythmic Gymnastics competition, finishing in 9th position. Rhythmic Gymnastics team - Katerina Pisetsky, Alona Dvornichenko, Raheli Vigdorchik, Veronika Vitenberg and Maria Savenkov deserve every accolade for coming sixth in the group final. B Guy Barnea - Reached the semifinal in the 100m backstroke, breaking his Israeli record, and finished 16th overall. Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or - Despite only being added to the delegation the week before the Games, smashed the Israeli record in both the 100m and 200m freestyle, finishing 15th in the 200m. Tom Be'eri - Didn't advance to a semifinal, but dramatically improved the national records in the 100m and 200m breaststroke heats. Ma'ayan Davidovich - The 20-year-old's future looks especially bright after her 10th place finish in the women's windsurfing contest. C Anya Gostomelsky - Set a new Israeli record in the 100m backstroke and 50m freestyle, finishing 19th in the latter, her best result of the Games. Shahar Pe'er - Claimed Israel's only win in the tennis events and lost to the superior Vera Zvonareva in the second round. Tzipi Obziler - Was added to the singles tournament at the last moment after the withdrawal of Ana Ivanovic and almost reached the second round. In the doubles the expectations from here and Pe'er were never high. Nofar Edelman - The Laser Radial sailor ended the competition in a respectable 16th position. Guy Starik - After four Olympics the 43-year-old is still looking to reach his first Olympic final, following his 12th place in the 50m rifle prone contest. Michel Kolganov - Missed out on the final of the K1 500m competition by just one second and also reached the semifinals of the K1 1000m competition. Neta Rivkin - Exceeded all expectations going into the Games by ending the Individual All-Around Rhythmic Gymnastics competition in 14th place. D Noam Mills - Lost in her first fight, but the Beijing Games were always more about the experience in this fencer's case. Alice Shlesinger - Like Mills, Shlesinger was also in Beijing first and foremost to gain experience and her two losses shouldn't be treated like the end of the world. Bat El Gatterer - Another youngster who shouldn't feel disheartened by her early exit. Gil Simkovitch - Managed to finish 22nd in the 50m rifle prone competition; ended the 50m 3 positions contest in 38th place. Niki Palli - Jumped 10 centimeters less than his career best and missed an excellent opportunity to make the high jump final. Anastasia Gloushkov and Inna Yoffe - Finished the Synchronized Swimming duet competition in 15th position. Haile Satayin - His mere participation is remarkable, but could have done better than 69 out of 76 runners in the marathon. F The rest: Delila Hatuel, Doron Egozi, Itai Chama, Itai Magidi, Alex Averbukh, Tomer Or, Udi Gal and Gidi Kliger, Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich, Arik Ze'evi.