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December 26, 2021 5:22 pm
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Top Russian Outlet Continues to Bash Israeli Gymnast for Defeating Russian Rival in Tokyo Olympics

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Gymnastics – Rhythmic – Individual All-Around – Final – Rotation 4 – Ariake Gymnastics Centre, Tokyo, Japan – August 7, 2021. Linoy Ashram of Israel in action with ribbon. Photo: REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

A top Russian media outlet continued its vendetta against an Olympic gold medal-winning Israeli gymnast, placing her victory over a Russian competitor on a list of sports scandals and other incidents.

The Russian Olympic team expressed outrage at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games earlier this year after Israeli Linoy Ashram beat three-time world champion 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.

Russia lodged official complaints and called on the International Gymnastics Federation to overturn the Ashram result, to no avail.

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Israeli news site Walla reported that, in a year’s end retrospective, popular Russian broadcaster RT said of Ashram’s victory, “There is no doubt that judging rhythmic gymnastics is not an easy thing. There are some elements that are subjective, such as elegance, composure, and precision.”

“No one can claim that the Israeli Ashram did not give an exceptional performance in the final,” the channel admitted.

“However,” it added, “one can say that Averina was robbed of the gold after the lengthy consultation between the judges, even though she completed four routines without mistakes, at a time when Ashram dropped the ribbon,”

“Averina wept and demanded answers, and many professionals agreed with her and called the decision unfair,” the network added.

The entire incident, RT claimed, “raised many questions about the fairness” of the sport in general.

Averina herself has said that although she feels the decision against her was unfair, she accepted Ashram’s win and called for an end to online harassment of the Israeli champion.

“We are not guilty of anything — this is a matter of the judges,” she said. “I feel sorry for Linoy — she did nothing wrong. Don’t harass her.”

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