Former Israel medal-winning gymnastics team coach switches to Russian team

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Former Israel national rhythmic gymnastics team coach Ira Vigdorchik has pledged to work with the Russian team instead. Vigdorchik confirmed the development in a statement.

Vigdorchik, who trained the Israeli troop for years, was fired this year after the Tokyo Olympics.

Vigdorchik, 57, got the job 10 days ago, Israel Hayom reported. She is considered close to the Russian Gymnastics Association where she is held in high esteem, according to the report.

Vigdorchik will prepare the Russian team for the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024, where Israel is also expected to participate.

The Russians are also expected to be in Israel next year at the European rhythmic gymnastics competition in Tel Aviv.

Vigdorchik was born in the former Soviet Union and immigrated to Israel from Moscow in 1979. She coached the Israeli team from 2008 to 2021, with a one-year hiatus in 2016.

Under his leadership, the Israel team won more than 20 medals in competitions around the world, including a European bronze medal in 2014, a silver medal the same year at the world championships and medals of silver and bronze at the European Championships in 2016.

Israeli Linoy Ashram poses with her gold medal during the podium ceremony of the Rhythmic Gymnastics Individual All-Around Final of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Ariake Gymnastics Center in Tokyo on August 7, 2021. ( Lionel Bonaventure / AFP)

Over the years, Vigdorchik has been embroiled in various controversies, including commenting in a leaked tape a month before the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 that Israeli individual gymnast Linoy Ashram has “no class.”

At the Tokyo Games, Ashram won Israel’s first-ever gold medal in the rhythmic individual all-around, edging out Russian favorite Dina Averina in the silver position. Averina’s twin sister, also considered a medal contender, finished in fourth place.

In the team event, the Israeli team led by Vigdorchik finished in sixth place.

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