They've been in Olympic competition since 1952, but tragically the words "Israel" and "Olympics" have mostly been used together in terms of the terrorist atrocity at Munich 1972. On Wednesday, however, Israel finally picked up its first gold medal.
Gal Fridman came first in the Mistral class windsurfing event at the Agios Kosmas Olympic Sailing Centre. Having taken bronze at Atlanta 1996, Fridman climbed to top place in the 11th and final race of this year's series after Brazil's Ricardo Santos, who was leading after race 10, finished 17th in the last race to miss out on a medal. Nikolaos Kaklamanakis, who lit the Olympic flame on opening night, took silver.
Ha'aretz reported on Fridman's victory. Eyebrows have been raised in Israel, however, at sports minister Limor Livnat's second trip to the Athens games to personally congratulate Fridman. Last week she flew to Greece to congratulate judo bronze medallist Arik Ze'evi. The Jerusalem Post has a report together with a shot of the Livnat/Fridman photo-op.
The first-ever performance of HaTikvah at a gold medal ceremony has aroused debate over an official national anthem for Israel. Arutz Sheva has a report, which includes a Windows Media video (in Hebrew) of the medals ceremony and the singing of HaTikvah. Here are the lyrics to HaTikvah. There's a school of thought that Israel should choose an anthem that is more inclusive of its Arab citizens.
Faustine Merret of France won the women's mistral event.
The American media must have been as confused as hell when ex-Australian Austrian Kate Allen won the women's triathlon. Read (in German) how Triathlon Austria celebrated. And here is the Sydney Morning Herald report.
Pakistan beat India in a minor classification playoff in the men's hockey on Wednesday night by three goals to nil. Reports from the Daily Times in Pakistan and the Hindustan Times. And it was, naturally, a cue for Mighty Merv Fernandis' latest Dribble Scribble.
The Jamaica Gleaner reports Veronica Campbell's 200 metre victory on the track. And, of course, the pollies' reaction.
Oh, and while we're in Jamaica, the Jamaica Observer's weekend All-Woman magazine has a profile on that great Slovenian athlete Merlene Ottey. Her long career, spanning seven Olympic games, probably came to an end when she failed to finish the 200 metres semi-final. Here is the Merlene Ottey fan club website based in Denmark.
In Trans-Tasman news, the Opals flogged the Tall Ferns 94-55.