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Anastasia Gorbenko wins silver and embraces pain

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Anastasia Gorbenko wins silver and embraces pain

Since 1973, 2,341 medals have been awarded at the World Swimming Championships. Last Sunday, one of these medals went to Israel for the first time: to Anastasia Gorbenko, second in the 400 meter individual medley at the World Championships in Qatar. The realization that she had made Israeli sports history, she says, came with a delay.

When she climbed out of the pool, she didn’t notice the boos from the audience in Doha. “It was quite loud all week,” she says, back in Tel Aviv, in an interview with FAS. “I swim with earplugs and before the start I had headphones on. I didn’t hear anything and I didn’t listen either. Afterwards I was so overwhelmed, by the result, by second place, by the pain. At first I didn’t notice anything. Then the noise came through. I didn’t even understand what it was about. The interviewer (the Australian John Mason Reynolds, who was hired by the International Swimming Federation for poolside interviews, editor’s note) likes me – and the country of Israel – and told me: ‘Look me in the eyes, don’t respond to them. You deserve to stand here, say what you want to say.’ And yes, then I cried, but more from excitement because it was up and down the whole week.”

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