The spokeswoman for the Israeli Olympic Committee told Ynet that the delegation’s representatives in Beijing relayed the difficult news to Mandel, and the sports-induced excitement was replaced with mourning.
In a press conference that took place at the Olympic Village on Thursday morning, the heads of the Israeli delegacy announced Mandel’s decision to make his first Olympic appearance this coming Monday.
Alon’s father, Costa Mandel, 51, was killed when he fell off a ladder in his yard. After the fatal accident, his family members gathered and contemplated whether or not to wake Alon up and tell him about the horrible family tragedy.
After a short while, it was decided that his older sister Maya would book a ticket to Beijing in order to be with him during the difficult moments.
Tragedy strikes Mandel family (Photo: Ran Eliyahu)
The heads of the Israeli delegation obtained a special entrance permit to the Olympic Village and when she arrives, the swimmer will decide if and when to return to Israel.
Costa supported his son in all aspects of his swimming career and was very proud that Alon was part of the Israeli delegation.
Two weeks ago, the father and son met with Netanya Mayor Miriam Feirberg and accepted her blessings of support and patronage of NIS 5,000 (about $1,400).
Saar Haas contributed to this report