Israel’s show jumpers made the summer Olympics for the first time, narrowly beating Poland for a single open spot on Sunday.
By World Israel News Staff
Israel’s equestrian team made history on Sunday by becoming the first ever to qualify for the summer Olympics, which will be held in Tokyo in 2020.
The pressure was on at the Olympic Jumping Qualifier at Maxima Park in Moscow as only one Olympic spot was available. Competing in heavy rain, four Israeli riders rose to the challenge, winning first place and narrowly beating out the Polish team by one point.
The four riders were Daniel Bluman, 29, Ashlee Bond, 34, Elad Yaniv, 41, and Danielle (Goldstein) Waldman, 34.
“We were optimistic but there was a lot of pressure this afternoon,” team sports manager Amichai Alperovich said, according to Worldofshowjumping.com. “But these guys, they made it, all of them are magnificent, they’ve all done a great job and all of them are perfect! We are happy and this is historic – it’s the first time we will have Israel (jumping team) at the Olympics!”
Waldman, who married four weeks ago in Italy, started riding at a very young age and told newspaper Makor Rishon in January that already by the age of 13 she understood the goal was to get to the Olympics.
She told the paper she grew up in an athletic family in Manhattan.
“My mother was a tennis player, my father was ranked first in the world in squash, and the family genes transferred completely to me,” she said, “At the age of eight, I started to ride ponies, and soon I also began to compete, and riding became more and more dominant for me, and eventually it took over everything and became the main occupation.”
Waldman also comes from a Zionist family. “I grew up in a Jewish Zionist home where they always talked about Israel as the place where our roots are, and from a young age to my family it was important that if it was possible, that I represent Israel and not the United States,” she told Makor Rishon.
Bluman is also excited to be representing Israel. “This is a dream come true for me,” he told Israel’s Channel 13. “It is hard for me to describe how proud I am of what we managed to achieve today.”
Originally from Colombia, Bluman represented the South American country at the 2012 and 2016 summer Olympics.