European champion Anastasia Gorbenko: “Exciting to make history, closing a circle for me”

Smell Paris.

How successful this championship is will be evidenced by the fact that Israel is currently ranked second (!) in the medals table. Yes, in one of the most important branches in the medal program, Israel is at the top, and it is out of 21 countries on the continent that have obtained at least one medal.

The one who has a significant part of these figures is undoubtedly Anastasia Gorbenko, who yesterday obtained her fourth medal in the competition and her fourth gold, all this almost a month days before she will also jump into the water at the Olympic Games in Paris.

Gorbenko also completed a third consecutive European title in the 200 meter medley, a figure reserved for the greatest swimmers ever, when she is only 20 years old and this figure can still be broken twice.

Anastasia Gorbenko, Photo: AFP

The ones that this time Gorbenko did not do it alone, and she shared the podium with Leah Polonsky, who won the silver medal and on the way also achieved the criterion for Paris, when later it was announced that her brother Ron also did it in the men’s equivalent.

The new champion said: “It’s fun and exciting to make such history with a third consecutive win at the European Championship, but I’m much happier than what happened today to Lea Valron with the Olympic criterion.

“To share the podium with Leah, I couldn’t have asked for anything better. We grew up together and trained together and it excites me to see Leah finally do a criterium, I know how hard she worked for this. It’s a closing circle from the European Youth Championships for me so we shared the podium. It was I’ve had a long week, I’m satisfied with how things went, looking at what could have been done better, but today was one of the most fun days in the competition.”

Leah Polonsky said: “This is the happiest day of my life, really exciting and I’m happy that I did it together with Anastasia – it really helped me that she was with me in the anointing and all along the way. After missing the criterion for the Tokyo Olympics by 9 hundredths, it makes me really happy, because I worked hard for four years for this.

Anastasia Gorbenko and Leah Polonsky, Photo: AFP

“I’m happy that it finally happened, I’m excited to be at my first Olympics. It’s the first time I’ve won a medal at the European Championships, and it added more excitement to the criterion. At the European Youth Championships, Anastasia and I were on the podium together, so it was with a bronze and silver medal, and I was happy to repeat To do it again in a higher position was crazy to show such dominance in such a difficult time and to sing the hope together out loud, it was simply powerful.”

The perfect day came with Chris Fitchugin’s bronze medal, which he did in the 50m breaststroke. He said at the end: “It was a very interesting, fun and fast heat and it all came down to a few hundredths in the end. I was really happy, I finally returned to my records in 50 meters, I improved the Israeli record, I haven’t been in this range of results for years and it’s really exciting to be back.

Chris Fitchugin, Photo: Reuters

“I felt very good both in the qualifiers, in the semis and in the finals. I knew I was going to swim very fast, already in the semis I swam two hundredths of my record and now I knew that with the excitement and the status I would swim faster, but I wasn’t thinking at all about the result but about enjoying the massage, the pressure and the adrenaline” .


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“It is a great honor to stand on the podium on a day like this and at a time like this. I dedicate the medal to Devir Barzani, a member of my association who fell in the battles in Gaza. I want to thank my association Greater Jerusalem, the association that raised me Kiryat Ata, Sepido and everyone who blesses and supports.”

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