There's a small museum in Tel Aviv, located alongside the city's Hayarkon Park, which brings visitors into the excitement of the Olympic Games.
On the second floor of the Olympic Building-National Sports Center, down the corridor and to the right sits a relatively unknown exhibit that is most definitely worth visiting: The Olympic Experience (www.olympic-experience.co.il
It's an innovative and interactive display that takes the visitor on an exciting journey to the record moments of the Olympic Games and to the Olympic spirit of willpower, excellence, perseverance and glory.
"It's a very emotional exhibit. You see people come out with pride in their eyes," says Haim Rogatka, manager of The Olympic Experience.
Visitors to the museum are taken on a one-hour interactive journey through five rooms that correspond with the five interlocking rings in the Olympic symbol.
The first stop is the Winners Ring, where visitors watch a 360-degree video of the most exciting moments in the history of the Olympic Games, from US swimmer Mark Spitz winning his seventh gold medal to Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci achieving her perfect score.
The museum, which opened in September 2009, was designed by the Israeli visual communications firm Disk-In Pro.
"The innovative plan makes use of the Olympic emblem as an element of design in the different spaces in the museum. The content is presented by means of advanced technology and tools," the company explains on its website. "The museum provides the Olympic view from an international angle, the atmosphere of the games, the level of excellence and message of peace."
A guide leads the way to the second room to the Ring of History, where an enormous screen brings you back in time to ancient Greece, where the Olympic Games started. Visitors are also transported digitally to Paris at the end of the 19th century, to witness Baron Pierre de Coubertin's declaration that the Olympics should be revolutionized for modern times.
Next up is the Israeli Ring – a room that will move you both physically and emotionally. First there is a video of Esther Roth Shachmorov, the winner of the Israeli athletic award, memorializing the Israeli athletes' tragedy in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. Then, after the benches swivel around, visitors enjoy a virtual face-to-face meeting with Israeli Olympic medal holders Shahar Zubari, Gal Friedman, Yael Arad, Oren Smadja, Michael Kalgonov and Arik Ze'evi.
"People get really emotional at the exhibit, especially when they hear about the Israeli achievements," says guide Danielle Yarom.
"The exhibit deals with Munich really well, especially for young people," says Olivia Morris, a counselor with a Federation of Zionist Youth group visiting from Leeds. "These British youth wouldn't know anything about the Israeli Olympic delegations if they didn't come here."
The next room, the International Ring, is a more subdued experience watching the world's top athletes while sitting around an enormous globe.
The final stop is the Ring of Experiencing – a hands-on segment where visitors get to test their physical and mental strength against one another and compare it to Olympic athletes.
You can test your own athletic skills at the museum. Photo by Reuven Swartz
Citius, Altius, Fortius
The Olympics is the main theme of this exhibit, no doubt. But The Olympic Experience is also meant to send visitors home with a new outlook.
Citius, Altius, Fortius is Latin for “Faster, Higher, Stronger” -- the motto that was proposed by de Coubertin upon the creation of the International Olympic Committee in 1894.
It is also a clear message that comes out of a visit to the Tel Aviv exhibit.
"We use the Olympics as a theme, but we want people to take home with them a message for life," says Rogatka. "Dream, try, succeed – that's what we want people to live by. If you try, you will succeed."
The guided tour, which is offered in English and Hebrew, is recommended by the Israeli Ministry of Education and must be booked in advance.
"It's very exciting," says British visitor Steven Skulnick. "I feel more of a connection to the Olympics."
"This is pure edutainment," sums up Rogatka.