London 2012: Which Jewish athletes are in the running?

September 24, 2009

As anticipation starts to build for the London Olympics, the world’s greatest showcase of track and field athletics, now seems a good time to review the state of health of UK Jewish athletics.

Last month’s Maccabiah Games provided a telling indicator. It showcased the talents of two bright prospects — Richard Goodman, 16, of Stanmore, who won two golds and a bronze in the junior middle-distance events, and Jennifer Simmons, 18, of Manchester, who won gold in the senior 400m hurdles and bronze in the 400m flat.


Nazis used man in women's Olympics

September 3, 2009

A new film reveals how the Nazis replaced a female Jewish athlete with a man in drag during the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

The feature film Berlin 36, which opens in Germany next week, tells the story of star high-jumper Gretel Bergmann. Ms Bergmann was banned from competing in the Olympics to shield Hitler from the embarrassment of a Jewish athlete winning.

Bergmann’s replacement was her roommate Horst Ratjen, who posed as “Dora”. He kept his gender secret from his teammates by shaving his legs several times a day and showering alone.


Kosher Big Mac offer for the Olympics

By Leon Symons, May 7, 2009

A mouth-watering prospect has been raised for the London Olympics in three years’ time — and it has nothing to do with sport.

Orthodox Jews who are enthusiastic sports fans usually ensure they have something to eat at such events by taking a packed lunch.

But that might not be necessary if the Jewish Committee for the London Games, part of the London Jewish Forum, gets its way.

It has asked the Games’ organisers to set up kosher food stands provided by the Games’ main food sponsor, McDonald’s.


Sport in brief

December 18, 2008

Shaftesbury Barnet Harrier Richard Goodman, 15, won the combined Under 17 and Under 20 North Thames Cross Country Championships in Kingsbury.

Competing against runners-up to four years his senior, Goodman of Stanmore finished 55 seconds clear of the rest of the field. “Before the race, former world record holder Dave Bedford told me that I could be the next Dave Bedford, and that I had the perfect physique for cross-country and middle-distance. That encouragement inspired me to run what I think is one of my best races.”


Big Macc squeezed on funds

By Simon Griver and Danny Caro, December 4, 2008

There are fears that next year's Jewish Olympics could be scaled down as a result of the credit crunch.

The latest financial crisis engulfing July's Maccabiah Games revolves around the failure of the organisers to raise sufficient sponsorship funds due to the global recession.


Paralympic athletes frustrated by lack of funds

By Simon Griver, September 19, 2008

Israel's Paralympic squad have blamed financial constraints for their disappointing performance in Beijing.
The 42-person delegation returns home today with less than half the medals they won in Athens four years ago and without a single gold.

Israel claimed six medals, five silver and one bronze, compared to 13 medals in the last games, which included four golds.


Silver-lining as Pezaro makes waves in Beijing

By Simon Griver, September 12, 2008

Israeli swimmer Inbal Pezaro emerged as the country's biggest star in the opening stages of the Paralympics in Beijing.

Pezaro - who was born with a spinal disorder that left her paralysed from the legs down - claimed silver in both the 100 metres and 200 metres freestyle, thus improving on her medal haul in the 2004 Athens Paralympics where she took silver and bronze.

Pezaro, who serves as a volunteer swimming instructor in the IDF, hopes to extend her medal haul when she competes in the 50 metres freestyle and 100 metres breaststroke.


Israel hope

September 4, 2008
Three Olympic medallists have been invited to take part at the 18th Maccabiah Games in Israel next year.
American duo Garrett Weber-Gale and Jason Lezak, world record holders in 4x100 metres freestyle, along with 41-year-old Dara Torres, were asked to compete by Yoav Bruk, the Maccabiah ambassador and Israeli former Olympic swimmer.


Windsurfer put's Israel on the map

By Simon Griver, August 21, 2008

Israel's Shahar Zubari won bronze in the RS:X Windsurfing competition in Qingdao.

The 21-year-old from Eilat had gone into the final race in fourth position overall but he held his nerve to finish second and edge out Britain's Nick Dempsey.

"I had butterflies in my stomach before the last race," said Zubari, "but once I got started I was only focused on getting ahead of the field. It went very well tactically and I enjoyed the last part of the race as I knew a medal was guaranteed."


High-ho, there’s a silver lining

By Danny Caro, August 21, 2008

No golds for British Jew, but giant Josh (all 6ft 9ins of him) gets the next best thing, writes Graham Morrison in Beijing

Josh West, the only Jewish - and, at 6ft 9 in, the tallest - athlete on the British team in Beijing, has won silver in the rowing eights.

"It sure makes up for Athens," said West. "It was great to be on the podium."