The Olympic Games are held every four years and as the date approaches the public's level of interest increases. Twenty eight different sporting fields gather within a single competitive arena. Sports considered anonymous suddenly take center stage, and athletes become national or sometimes international heroes over night.
Only months away from the Olympic Games opening ceremony, tensions run high and preparations are at a peak. The host city is entering the final stage of preparations and guest countries are gearing up for the moment of truth. Athletes who have been training for this moment for years are competing to achieve the necessary criteria and receive the much sought after ticket to the world's most prestigious sporting event. The world is bedazzled by the magic of the Olympic Games.
On August 8th, 2008 the Israeli delegation will march in the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games for the fourteenth time. The nation's top athletes will fulfill their dreams of becoming members of the Olympic delegation, hoping for victory and national pride.
At the Beijing Olympic Games, the Israeli delegation is expected to include some 38 athletes from 14 different sporting fields, including track and field, gymnastics, judo, tennis, swimming, taekwando, fencing, shooting and sailing. For some, this will be a new experience, while others are returning as seasoned veterans.
After Gal Friedman lived out his dream and won Israel's first ever gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games we have our sights set high - "Hatikva (both the name of the Israeli national anthem and the word "hope") is worth gold — because its melody will never be stilled". So too we hope for Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008.
Tennis has recently been noted as a leading Israeli sport, with Israeli tennis having been represented in the past by such well known players as Gilad Blum, Shahar Perkis, Ilana Berger and Amos Mansdorf. At the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, we were represented by Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich, the first doubles players to represent Israel at the Olympic Games. Andy and Yoni, ranked among the tennis world's international elite will be representing Israel in Beijing. They will be joined by the young and talented women's singles player, Shahar Peer and possibly other Israeli tennis players.
Swimming a veteran field and longstanding tradition at the Olympic Games. Israeli swimmers pride themselves on their results and achievements in this field in the international arena, such as swimmer Eitan Orbach who made history by becoming the first Israeli swimmer to reach an Olympic final at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. The relay team also made its mark by advancing right through to the Olympic Games final.
Sailing, Laser Radial one of the most traditional and accomplished fields in Israeli sports. In winning Israel's first Olympic gold medal, wind surfer Gal Fridman has set the bar high for Israeli sailors at the upcoming Olympic Games, as all eyes will be turned to the sea in expectation of another Olympic medal. The Laser Radial class will be making its first appearance in Beijing, where Israel will be represented in both the RS:X model (wind surfing) and the 470 model sailboat for men and women.
Rhythmic Gymnastics another long standing Israeli Olympic tradition, but as opposed to previous years, this will be the first time that the Rhythmic Gymnastics team will appear in a group exercise. Israel's five-girl Rhythmic Gymnastics team (plus one alternate) is currently ranked sixth in the world. The team will compete for a place of honor among the twelve teams at the Games, as well as continue the tradition of participating in the individual competition.
We would like to take this opportunity to invite you all to join in the festive spirit of the Olympic Games and take part in the journey toward the highs we are sure to see in Beijing 2008 — let's come together to support our athletes in fulfilling their dreams and living their hope of realizing the vision.
The Olympic Committee of Israel