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Pres. Rivlin Meets Israeli Olympians (15/07/2016)

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin met with historic Olympic team before they leave for Brazil

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Photo: Mark Neiman, GPO

On Wednesday, President Reuven Rivlin told Israel’s 47 Olympic athletes to “make history” just before their departure for the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero.

The meeting between Rivlin and Israel’s Olympic team took place at Rivlin’s residence in Jerusalem, where he told them they looked “ready for any challenge,” and that “we believe in you and know that you can and will return home with Olympic medals.”

There is good reason to think that Rivlin’s wishes will be met: the 2016 Israeli team is the largest Olympic delegation Israel has ever produced, with competitors in 16 events. The range of events that Israel will be represented in is also broad, with competitors in gymnastics, Judo, mountain biking and badminton, to name a few.

Wednesday also saw a ceremony for the 11 Israeli athletes who were murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The current Olympic team and relatives of those killed honored the slain athletes at the memorial statue in Tel Aviv. Gymnast and Israel’s flag bearer Neta Rivkin, and wind-surfer Shahar Tzuberi laid a wreath at the memorial statue.

Windsurfer Shahar Tzuberi lays a wreath during a memorial ceremony for the 11 Israeli team members who were killed by Palestinian gunmen during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich (REUTERS/Amir Cohen)

Ilana Romano, the widow of weightlifter Yossef Romano, said that it was a “happy day” to see the 2016 Olympic team together at the memorial, adding, “you are proving to the entire world that we will continue to take part in the Olympics and that you will continue the legacy of the 11 murdered in Munich for all eternity.”

Israel is also sending a Paralympic team of 30 athletes to compete in Rio two weeks after the Olympic games end.

“You brought us the most medals in previous games,” Rivlin told the Paralympic team at the meeting in Jerusalem, “and the delegation will be a pioneering one this year as well, with Jewish and Arab representatives. You give us hope and lots of Israeli pride.” Women athletes also comprise half of the team for the first time in its history.


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