Arik Zeevi, the only Israeli athlete to compete in four different Olympic games, is to officially announce his retirement from professional judo in the coming days, Israeli media reported on Thursday.
Zeevi, who won the bronze medal for Israel in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, had a very disappointing showing at the London Games in August, tapping out to Dmitri Peters of Germany just 43 seconds into his only match.
After his loss in London, both Zeevi and his coach, Shani Hershko, intimated that it was his final Olympic match. While the possibility was left open that he would compete in smaller events, at the age of 35, it was obvious that Zeevi’s career was nearing its end.
In addition to Olympic bronze in 2004, Zeevi won nine medals at the European Championship over the course of his career. In 2000, 2003, 2004, and 2012 he won the gold medal; in 2005 the silver; the remaining four times the bronze. He also won the silver medal in the 2001 World Championships.
Born and raised in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bnei Brak, at the age of 14 Zeevi became Israel’s youngest ever judo national champion.