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Olympic day 1 Jewish highlights

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Today I believe the first Jewish medalist of the Beijing 2008 Games was American fencer Sada Jacobson, who won the silver medal in the Women’s Individual Saber event.

She was defeated 15-8 by defending Olympic champion, fellow American Mariel Zagunis, while another American Rebecca Ward won the bronze. It was an All-American podium, and the women hope to find themselves up there again when they compete together in the team event.

Jacobson was the bronze medalist at the Athens Games, and has fencing in her family background. She was honored by the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame with the Marty Glickman Award in 2002 and 2005.

Also today, Israeli Gymnast Alexander Shatilov qualified for the Men’s Floor Exercise final on August 17.

The 21-year-old finished with a rank of 29th out of 98 individual competitors in the Men’s Artistic Gymnastics qualification round, falling just short of qualification for the All-Around Individual final but putting at the top of the reserve list.

In his Olympic debut, Shatilov’s biggest strength was his floor exercise, where he earned a score of 15.600 and came in eighth overall, making him the last qualifier for the Floor Exercise final.

“I really love Floor Exercise and I didn’t do too bad of a floor routine today,” he says.

Shatilov made the Apparatus finals on floor at the past two World Championships. Click here to watch some videos of his previous competition routines. Shatilov was born in Uzbekistan and moved to Israel six years ago.

Also today, Israeli Gal Yekutiel came close to a bronze medal in Men’s 60kg Judo, but he lost to Ruben Houkes of the Netherlands for an overall fifth place finish in the weight class.

“I have had a long and difficult day, but I made progress in my fights,” says Yekutiel. “I beat World Champions, European champions and Olympic Games champions from Athens, and I am proud of my achievements.”

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