Tonight the 2016 Summer Olympics kick off in Rio. The Israeli Olympic team will be the Jewish state's largest ever, and will be led into the arena by Neta Rivkin. Neta is the most successful member of Israel's rhythmic gymnastics team, a team that gives Israel its best shot at Olympic gold. This is Neta's third time representing Israel at the Olympics, having also in 2008 in Beijing and 2012 in London. While those of us who stand for Israel will be cheering for Neta to take the medal stand, she is already well-decorated in international competitions, with silver medals at the 2011 European Championships, a bronze at the 2011 World Championships, and another silver in the all-around at the 2014 Grand Prix Final.
As we prepare to root for Neta and the rest of the Israeli athletes in Rio, we'll let her speak, from a piece by Yediot Achronot's Michael Bachner:
“We are a small team compared to other countries, but we have quality and are determined,” Israeli Olympic Committee President Igal Carmi said at the event. “I am very proud of the Israeli team. We are ready to compete at the highest levels.”
Rhythmic gymnast Neta Rivkin was selected on Tuesday to hold the Israeli flag at the opening ceremony of the Olympics. The 2016 games will be her third as she competed at both London and Beijing.
“When I was told I would be holding the flag, I felt I was fulfilling another personal dream,” she said. “On behalf of all the athletes, I can promise that we will all do our very best. We all want to bring moments of joy to the Israeli people...”