Israel rhythmic gymnastics team misses out on medals in Rio
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Israel rhythmic gymnastics team misses out on medals in Rio

High expectations dashed as Jewish state finishes sixth after reaching finals; Russia wins gold, Spain and Bulgaria tie for silver

Israel's team competes in the group all-around final event of the Rhythmic Gymnastics at the Olympic Arena during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 21, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / Thomas COEX)
Israel's team competes in the group all-around final event of the Rhythmic Gymnastics at the Olympic Arena during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 21, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / Thomas COEX)

Israel’s rhythmic gymnastics team on Sunday fell short of a medal in the finals at the Rio Olympics on Sunday, ending in sixth place and dashing the country’s last realistic hope for Olympic glory.

After two rounds of ribbon-twirling and club- and hoop-tossing, the team finished with with a total score of 34.549, well behind gold-medalist Russia which garnered 36.233 points. Spain and Bulgaria tied for the silver with 35.766.

The team, which won a gold in the hoops and clubs discipline at the European Championships in June, had been considered Israel’s best hopes for gold at the games.

Short of mountain biker Shlomi Haimy shocking the field, Israel was ending the Games, which close Sunday evening, with two bronze medals in judo.

Israel's team competes in the group all-around final event of the Rhythmic Gymnastics at the Olympic Arena during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 21, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / Thomas COEX)
Israel’s team competes in the group all-around final event of the Rhythmic Gymnastics at the Olympic Arena during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 21, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / Thomas COEX)

The rhythmic gymnastics team started off the ribbons routine without wowing the judges, finishing in sixth place with a score of 17.166, 8.500 for difficulty and 8.666 for execution.

Spain (17.800), Bulgaria (17.700), and Russia (17.600) took the top spots in the first round.

In the second round, with three hoops and two clubs, the Israeli team placed last, with a score of 17.383, 8.750 for difficulty and 8.633 for execution.

Israel's Neta Rivkin competes in the individual all-around qualifying event of the Rhythmic Gymnastics at the Olympic Arena during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 19, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL)
Israel’s Neta Rivkin competes in the individual all-around qualifying event of the Rhythmic Gymnastics at the Olympic Arena during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 19, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL)

The team clinched a spot in the finals of the all-around competition on Saturday, finishing the two qualifying rounds with a total score of 34.883.

On Saturday, the team scored 17.633 in the second rotation of hoops and clubs, securing sixth place and therefore a spot in Sunday’s medal-chasing final eight. That rotation came after the team made a solid start earlier Saturday in the first rotation, the ribbon, scoring 17.250 and finishing in seventh place.

On Sunday, the slates were wiped clean, and the eight teams in the final started over in their quests for medals.

Israel rhythmic gymnastics team competing in the finals at the Rio Olympics on August 21, 2016. (screen capture: Channel 5)
Israel rhythmic gymnastics team competing in the finals at the Rio Olympics on August 21, 2016. (screen capture: Channel 5)

On Friday, Israel’s Neta Rivkin failed to advance past the qualifying rounds in the individual rhythmic gymnastics, when her final total score of 69.223 was not enough to earn her a place in the top 10.

Rivkin performed well in the first rotation, the ball, earning a score of 17.866 and landing herself the sixth spot out of 26.

But she dropped the hoop and the ribbon in the next two rotations, scoring 17.041 and 16.783, respectively. Her final score of 17.533 for the clubs rotation was not enough to push her through.

Israel’s two medals in the 2016 Games came courtesy of judokas Or Sasson and Yarden Gerbi, who each won bronze.

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