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August 8, 2021 12:14 pm
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Russian Internet Trolls Target Israel’s Gold Medal-Winning Gymnast, Linoy Ashram

avatar by i24 News

Israeli rhythmic gymnast Linoy Ashram. Photo: Ayelet Zussman/Wikimedia.

i24 News – Russian Internet users, furious that Israel’s Linoy Ashram secured the gold medal at the rhythmic gymnastic event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, have launched a wave of criticism at the athlete.

The Russians were mirroring the stance of the country’s Olympic team, which expressed outrage that Ashram beat their three-time world champion athlete Dina Averina to the top of the podium. They argued that the judges erred in not punishing Ashram more severely for apparently dropping the ribbon during her gold medal-winning routine. She beat Averina by 0.15 points in Saturday’s final.

Ashram posted a video of her celebrating her achievement with her Israeli teammates to her Instagram page Sunday, which proved too much for hundreds of disgruntled Russian gymnastics fans.

“Aren’t you ashamed to share this?” wrote one Russian user in a comment that was liked by over 600 others. “Everyone knows that the medal is not yours,” according to the Times of Israel. Ashram’s win dented Russia’s long-running dominance of the event, with the country having taken home the gold medal from every Olympics since 1996.

There was much support, however, for Ashram — and not just from Russian-speaking Israelis. Romania’s 1976 gold medal-winning gymnast Nadia Comaneci was warm in her praise of the Israeli. “Congratulations. You made history,” she tweeted.

The furor seemed also to have boosted Ashram’s profile, with the number of followers on her Instagram account more than doubling from 78,000 on Saturday to more than 160,000 by Sunday morning, according to the Times of Israel.

Meanwhile, Russia has lodged official complaints and called on the International Gymnastics Federation to overturn the Ashram result. In addition, their second-place finish behind Bulgaria in the all-round event stoked further ire, with claims that there was a conspiracy theory afoot to deprive Russia of more gymnastics gold medals.

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