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Culture

Another Israeli Record-Breaker, Another Political Sore Loser

Israeli swimmer Anna Gostomelsky broke an Israeli record today when she came in first place in the eighth heat of the 50-meter freestyle preliminaries in 25.23 seconds. While Gostomelsky failed to qualify for the semifinals, falling 16 milliseconds short of the 16th spot in the contest, she was thrilled with her results. “I’m very pleased, not only with myself but with the whole team,” she said. “We were the most brilliant team here.”

At 27, Gostomelsky is the oldest swimmer on the Israeli team, returning to compete in the Olympics after a lackluster showing in the 2004 Athens games.

But politics again threatens to eclipse Israeli athleticism, and Gostomelsky’s achievement, in this Olympics, as Syria’s Bayan Jumah, who was supposed to swim in the lane next to Gostomelsky, chose not to compete.

Gostomelsky wasn’t fazed by the pullout though. “I didn’t notice that the lane beside me was empty,” she said. “It’s her problem.”

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