18 Things to Know About Israeli Gymnast Linoy Ashram

The 22-year-old rhythmic gymnast is Israel's best chance at winning a medal in the Tokyo Olympics.

Rhythmic gymnast Linoy Ashram has a skill named after her. “The Ashram” is a “back-bend turn on floor.” The 22-year-old Israeli has set many records, including becoming the first Israeli rhythmic gymnast to win an individual all-around medal at the World Championships, to win gold in the World Cup series, and to win a European All-Around title. Hot damn!

Here are 18 things to know about Jewish Israeli superstar Linoy Ashram:

1. Linoy Ashram was born in Rishon LeZion, Israel, on May 13, 1999. (A May 13 birthday makes her a Taurus.)

2. Linoy’s family is Mizrahi (Yemeni Jewish) and Sephardi (Greek Jewish); she describes herself of “Yemeni and Greek origin.”

“This sport is ruled by Eastern Europeans. Due to the fact I’m not of Eastern European origin, and knowing that everyone usually thinks that the successful gymnasts are Eastern European, I wanted to prove that it doesn’t have to be that way.”

(When she won a gold medal in the individual rhythmic category at the European Championships in 2020, she became the first athlete to win the prize in decades who was not from a former Soviet country or Bulgaria.)

3. Her dad, Oren, is a standing army soldier in the IDF, and her mom, Hedva, is a kindergarten teacher’s assistant. She has three siblings: an older sister, Chen, an older brother, Idan, and a younger sister, Hila.

4. She got into rhythmic gymnastics because she was a “hyperactive child.” As she says, “I couldn’t sit still. I had to move and do sports. My mum saw that and decided to send me to an after-school sports club, a little class that taught rhythmic gymnastics. I really loved that type of sport, competing and wearing the outfits.”

5. Growing up, her role model was Netta Rifkin, one of Israel’s most successful rhythmic gymnasts from Petah Tikva. She also adores Gal Gadot, “who is a Wonder Woman in terms of determination and strength.”

6. In eighth grade, she stopped attending school to focus on training, and finished her education homeschooled. As of 2019, she started studying education at the Ono Academic College in Kiryat Ono, Israel.

7. From 2017 until 2019, Linoy completed her mandatory service in the Israel Defense Forces as an “outstanding athlete,” a status the IDF gives to athletes before their enlistment. “At 8am I go to the army until 11am. I have to go every day except when I have competition, then I get a holiday from the army,” Ashram says. “I am like a secretary. I have a really nice boss, I do all the administration. I really love it and it is very important for Israelis to donate in some way to our country, even if it is through administration and even if it’s only for a few hours.” Here she is at the Western Wall in her uniform:

Linoy Ashram
(via @linoy_ashram on Instagram)

8. Linoy has competed on the national team since 2014. A brief list of her medals? In the last 15 years, she has won 47 medals, including 11 at the World Championships. Here are the big ones:

linoy ashram
Gold medallist Israeli gymnast Linoy Ashram competes in the senior individuals all-around final event during the 36th European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Kiev on November 29, 2020. (Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

Wowza!!

9. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics (taking place in 2021) will be her first Olympics, and she has a (very) good shot at winning a medal. She’s described as “Israel’s best Olympic hope,” as rhythmic gymnastics is “one of Israel’s stronger sports.”

10. When the Olympics were postponed, she was initially very disappointed, but then realized she had “another full year to get better” and decided to be optimistic and focus on the fact she could gain another year of experience before the Games.

11. She’s “very shy” in real life, and loves going to the beach because it’s relaxing, quiet, and you can be with yourself and your thoughts. But, “as soon as I’m on the mat, I’m a whole different person.” Watch a mini profile of Linoy here:

12. “I am very tough,” Linoy says. “I am stubborn. I was born into a house where all of us kids were taught to have goals. I am a perfectionist. If something doesn’t work I will do it 100 times until it goes well. I never give up.”

13. Like another very famous Jewish gymnast before her (Aly Raisman), Linoy has a routine set to “Hava Nagila.” Here she is with competing to the classic Jewish tune with her ribbon:

She also performs to a Beyoncé/Ciara mix, naturally:

14. As a rhythmic gymnast, she competes in “hoop,” “ball,” “clubs” and “ribbon,” and she says she has no favorite — each is “completely different” and requires a different style. “The feeling in each is different, the music is different and the movements are completely different,” Linoy says.

15. She loves her mom’s homemade schnitzel, and enjoys watching romantic comedies.

16. Linoy doesn’t have many free days or time for hobbies, but when she does, she likes to hike and be outdoors in nature.

(That seems to be her boyfriend in slide three 👀, in 2020 she said she’s been dating someone for a “year and a half.”)

17. She’s sponsored by Adidas and stars in this commercial (with home video footage of her as a little kid):

18. Let’s end with this incredible photo of Linoy:

Read more about all the Jewish Olympians competing this year here. And read about the Jewish gymnasts at the Olympics here.

Bonus: A custom Linoy Ashram trading card, just for you!!

Linoy Ashram

 

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