Coach Vigdorchik with gymnast.
Coach Vigdorchik with gymnast.Reuters

Israel's rhythmic gymnastics team wound up in sixth place at the Rio Olympics – a disappointing result for the team that had been angling for a medal. The team made mistakes in two exercises and received low marks.

As a token of appreciation for the team's achievements, however, its captain – Alona Koshevatskiy – was selected to bear Israel's flag in the closing ceremony.

The team's coach, Ira Vigdorchik, claimed that the deck was stacked against the Israeli team.

"We competed in difficult circumstances," she explained. "We were the first to complete, and that is very difficult. One should remember that Israel has no representative in the judging panel, while all the other countries do, and that is an impossible situation. This is unlike the World Championship and the European Championship, where there are judges from each country.

"The competition is unequal politically, but we live with it," she added. "The way Israel is treated is part of the game. We warmed up for two hours inside a tent and everything was completely wet. The other countries trained somewhere completely different."