… the second Israeli gymnast to win a medal in gymnastics world championships (after Alex Shatilov) and the first to win a silver medal.
Born in Ukraine, his family moved to Israel when he was age-12.
Click PLAY or watch his Worlds qualifying FX on YouTube. Zapata mount.
He became an overnight sensation in Israel …
“For years I’ve been spending at least 4 hours a day on the buses. I had to wake up at 6 am in order to arrive in time to practices, classes and physical therapy. It was very hard to stay stuck in traffic so many hours a day. On my last birthday, my dad gave me his old car as a gift, this made my life so much easier.”
He is currently in the army, serving in the rank of a junior sergeant. As an athlete, he receives a special permission to serve only half a day and can train the rest of the day and it’s very hard for him to combine training and the service:
“I come to the gym half-dead after a day at the army base. Athlete-soldiers have to work in the army for 6 hours a week but my commander allows me to leave after five hours”.
… For his medal at Worlds he received a special prize from the government – NIS 84,000 ($24,000) and his coach also got a prize – half this sum. He also got a raise and now receives NIS 8,500 a month ($2500) …
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