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Israeli gymnastics champion Artem Dolgopyat won a gold medal – will donate money from its sale to communities near Gaza border

Dolgopyat: What is a world champion worth if my country is hurting?

Artem Dolgopyat (Photo: Guy Bittman)

The Olympic champion in Artistic Gymnastics, Artem Dolgopyat, put up for auction the gold medal he won at the World Championship on Oct. 7. All the proceeds from the sale will be donated to help the communities in the Gaza envelope through the Shoresh Fund. "What is a world champion worth if my country is hurting? For me, the State of Israel comes first," he stated.

Dolgopyat, a champion at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, won the gold medal and the world championship title this fall but did not stop to celebrate the impressive success because the competition took place on Saturday, Oct. 7, while the residents of the south were under a terror attack by Hamas terrorists. As news about the attack kept coming in, Dolgopyat insisted on ascending the podium with the Israeli flag adorned with black ribbons, dedicating the historic achievement to the nation and the residents of the Gaza envelope, (southern Israel border communities).

After deliberating about how he could significantly assist and after examining various options, Dolgopyat decided to put the world championship gold medal up for auction, donating all the money to the communities and evacuees of the Gaza envelope. The starting amount for purchasing the prestigious medal stands at $100,000. The money will be transferred to the Shoresh Fund, which assists the victims of the Oct. 7 terror attack.

Despite the touching gesture, it is not easy for Dolgopyat to part with the distinguished decoration: "I'm parting with the medal without pain but with a lot of emotion. It is a precious medal." He says the medal embodies all his dreams and the pinnacle of his aspirations, but recognizes that there are more important things: "Today I know that Israeli society is important beyond anything else. I won’t lie, it’s not easy for me, but I feel that through the auctioning of the medal, I can truly give back to the country that has given me so much."

In an interview with Yair Weinreb and Eran Cicurel on KAN public broadcasting, Dolgopyat spoke about the reactions of his friends in the sports world to the terrible events that have taken place since the outbreak of the war: "At the World Championship many people asked me about what was happening here, but now less so, I receive support from Ukraine – they understand our situation best now. Many react to the videos I uploaded to the social networks."

Lian is a sports reporter for KAN 11.

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