Jews & Sports

from Big Mo's Sports Desk

A Gold Medal for Gaza

The Ukrainian-born Olympic medalist and world champion, Artem Dolgopyat, who immigrated to Israel in 2009 with his parents at the age of 12, stood on the winners’ podium on Oct. 7 with an Israeli flag marked with black tape as the reports came in of the massacre, and accepted the award in the name of the State of Israel and residents of the Gaza border communities.

Over the last two months, Dolgopyat, together with his coach and manager, considered what he could do on behalf of the country amid his busy training schedule. In December, he came to the decision to auction off his world championship gold medal, to help those residents of the Gaza border communities devastated in the onslaught by Hamas terrorists, who had to flee their communities and now were without homes.

“What is a world champion worth if my country is hurting?” Dolgopyat told JNS in an interview Tuesday. “For me, the State of Israel is in first place.

“I feel that “I must help my country and the people who had to leave their homes two months ago [now three months] and who may not have a home to come back to.”

Dolgopyat, 26, is considered one of Israel’s greatest athletes. He won floor silver at the worlds in 2017 and 2019, before claiming Olympic gold in Tokyo in 2021. In 2022, he won a gold medal for his floor routine at the European Artistic Gymnastics Championship in Munich, despite suffering an injury to his foot a month earlier.

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The auction price for the World Championships gold medal starts at $100,000.

The auction will be held on Sunday, January 7 at 9 p.m. Israel time.
Dolgopyat who lives in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya after growing up in the Tel Aviv suburb of Rishon Lezion, said that he talked over the highly unusual decision with his parents who said that he should do as his heart desires.

The proceeds from the auction of the medal will be distributed to border-area communities by the Tel Aviv based Shoresh Fund, which has distributed NIS 6 million to border-area communities since the outbreak of the war, said co-founder David Sherez.


[Compiled and adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from, plus 2 inserts from
The photo, on the website of Times of India, is from the Olympics Games in Tokyo 2020.]

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