TOKYO - Israel's Artem Dolgopyat on Sunday won a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in the men's artistic gymnastics floor exercise.
Dolgopyat's final round routine Sunday impressed judges, who gave him a score of 14.933 - the same as Spain’s Rayderley Miguel Zapata, whom he edged out due to his higher level of difficulty. Zapata took silver and China’s Xiao Ruoteng won the bronze medal.
The 24-year-old's victory brings Israel only the second gold medal in its history - the first was won by windsurfer Gal Fridman at the Athens Games in 2004.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and President Isaac Herzog both congratulated Dolgopyat on his win.
"Thank you Artem! You have made blue and white history," Bennett wrote in Hebrew on Twitter. "Immense pride and excitement for all the people of Israel. How we have waited to see the Israeli flag raised and to hear Hatikvah sung in the competition hall in Tokyo!"
The Ukraine-born athlete knew from a very young age that he would be a gymnast, after his father took him at the age of 6 to practice for the first time.
Dolgopyat and his family immigrated to Israel when he was 12 and continued to train in his new country.
His major breakthrough came four years ago when he won silver at the 2017 World Championships in the floor exercise, a medal he won again two years later.
In 2020 he was crowned European champion.
The win gave Israel its third medal in the Tokyo Games, after the country's mixed judo team won bronze on Saturday.
The win was somewhat marred by the fact that only 11 of the 12-strong team leaves the Games with a medal.
The 12th member of the team, Gili Cohen, was not registered for Saturday's competition and sat in the stands as the rest of the Israeli judokas went up on the podium to receive their medals.
The Israeli delegation appealed the decision not to award a medal to Cohen as well, but the appeal was rejected.