Noam Gershoni, who won a gold medal in wheelchair tennis at the London Paralympics Saturday, thinks bringing honor to Israel may be more important to him than having been wounded for it in the Second Lebanon War six years ago.
"I am not sure what influences me more – this, or having been wounded for the country in war, and giving my body and life for it – and I'd do it all again even if I knew that it would end up this way," Gershoni told IDF Radio.
"It's possible that this makes me more happy – having brought so much honor to the country," he said.
Lt. Col. Yoav, the doctor from elite IDF rescue team Unit 669 who tended to Gershoni immediately after his serious injury, told the radio station that Noam "has rare power of personality" and that he was not expected to survive the crash of the Apache helicopter in the war.
"I was most certainly surprised [by his recovery]," said Yoav, "and later on when I got to know him a little, I was less surprised because I understood what kind of person this is."
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz told Gershoni: "I salute you in the name of the IDF for unusual determination and achievements."
Gershoni was wounded in all four limbs in a helicopter collision. After a long period of recovery, he began training in wheelchair tennis less than two years ago, and won several tournaments the Paralympics gold in the Quad Singles category.