When the Olympics opening ceremonies take place in Rio a week from today, pay special attention to the Israeli team. They are notable for a couple reasons.
First, it’s the largest team that Israel has sent to an Olympics competition to date. The 2016 team contains 47 athletes, 10 more than represented Israel in 2012, competing in 16 sports.
Also, this is the first time Israel will compete in the triathlon at the Olympic Games. Ron Darmon, 23, will swim .93 miles (1.5 kilometers), bike 24.8 miles (40 kilometers), and run 6.2 miles (10 kilometers).
“Records can be broken but being the first one, that can never be taken away,” he said. “I’m pretty happy about that.”
Darmon grew up in a village called Lehavim, which is located in the northern part of the Negev Desert. It had only been a town for nine years when he was born.
He described it as a quiet and relaxing community that’s good for raising kids. When he lived there, the population was about 7,000, and it has remained at that level since. He said they would run for fun.
His whole family took part in triathlons as well, and his mom is on the Israeli Triathlon Association board . . .
“I hope I can inspire kids to take triathlon and help our sport grow, but more important to me is that I hope I can inspire them to carve their own path and chase their dreams regardless of how big they are,” he said.