The latest Israeli sports results: two W’s in the pride column.
In Vancouver, the brother-sister ice dancing team of Roman and Alexandra Zaretsky finished out of the medals in their second Winter Olympics appearance. But, performing to Jewish music in their final two routines, the pair ended in 10th place, a great improvement over their final 23rd place showing four years ago in Turin.
In the United Arab Emirates, professional tennis player Shahar Peer lost her semifinal match in the BarclayDubai Championships to defending champion Venus Williams. Last year, Peer was barred from the tournament — the Arab country refused to issue her, an Israeli, an entry visa — and the tournament organizers decided to go forward with the championship rather than confront the government. The only women’s player who took a stand was Williams, who announced she would not return to defend her title unless Peer was allowed to participate.
Peer, who returned to a hero’s welcome in Israel, called her run in Dubai tournament — defeating three higher-ranked players, traveling with a heavy security detail, playing on auxiliary courts to minimize crowd size and security risk — a “dream week.”
“It was a tough week tennis wise, but mainly difficult psychologically because of everything that was going on around me,” she said. “It was an experience I will never forget.”
The Jerusalem Post called Peer “one of the country’s best ambassadors.”
Peer praised Williams’ stand against discrimination. “I told her I really appreciate her support this week and last year.”
The skating Zaretskys, natives of Belarus, performed their original dance routine, dressed in traditional Jewish garb, to “Hava Nagila,” and their free dance to the theme from “Schindler’s List.”
Not medal contenders, they set their goal in the Winter Games as a top-10 finish.
“We think of personal results out there, not personal bests,” Roman Zaretsky said. “We skate for our friends, our family and, of course, for our country.”