Israel’s Linoy Ashram, who won a gold medal in rhythmic gymnastics at the Tokyo Olympics, announced on April 4 in an emotional press conference that she is retiring as an athlete, effective immediately, but will remain active in the sport as a coach for the Israeli team.
“Athletes need to know when to retire and as far as I’m concerned,
I achieved my dream,” Ashram said with a tear in her eye.
“I reached my professional peak, and I decided that this is the right time to continue on the same path, but this time from the other side of the mat.”
Last August, she won Israel’s third gold medal in Olympic history when winning the rhythmic gymnastics all-around competition by the narrowest of margins, upsetting the favourites for the event, Russian twins Dina and Arina Averina.
In the press conference, Ashram described the mix of stress and excitement she’d felt in Tokyo, knowing that it would be her last Olympics.
“So many different thoughts passed through my head … I had finally arrived at the most important moment in my career, that I had worked towards for 15 years,” she said. “I felt like a whole country was beneath my wings.”
Yael Arad, a former Olympic judoka medalist, and the current president of the Israel Olympic Committee, said Ashram is “an incredible athlete, but also an exemplary person”, adding “we will be by her side all the way” as she begins her transition to coaching.
Since competing in her first rhythmic gymnastics international tournament in 2014, Ashram has won almost 100 medals at tournaments around the world, including world championships, in a glowing career.
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