Israel wins first ever gold medal, in windsurfing

The first Israeli ever to win an Olympic gold medal dedicated his victory yesterday to his 11 countrymen killed in the Munich massacre of 1972. Windsurfer Gal Fridman promised to visit the memorial for the athletes killed after a Palestinian attack on the Olympic Village and to «show them» his medal. «I’m sure they’re watching us,» said Fridman, who was born three years after they died. «And I’m sure their families in Israel will be really happy.» The 28-year-old punched the air with delight upon his victory and draped himself in the Israeli flag in what he said was a tribute to the victims of Munich: «We think about them all the time. They’re always in our mind. When I get home, I will go to the memorial for them and show them the gold medal,» he said. Israel, founded in 1948, first competed at the 1952 Games in Helsinki but waited 40 years before winning their first medals and more than half a century for Fridman’s gold. «It’s a dream come true,» he said. «It’s unbelievable that I’ve become the first Israeli to win a gold medal. All the people of Israel are happy now. I’ve lots of support from back home and I feel like all the country wanted the gold, so I won this for Israel. I knew the whole country was watching me so I had to do my best. It was more support than pressure. I felt like the whole country was pumping for me and you cannot explain that.» The Israeli athletes have been given extra security in Athens but Fridman, who pipped his Greek training partner Nikos Kaklamanakis to gold, said he was not concerned about safety. «We’re all safe and secure,» he said, before joking, «The only worry for me is when I’m in the car and Nikos is driving.» (Reuters)

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.