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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Few Jewish Olympians

Nadene Goldfoot
We lost 11 Jewish Olympians in a massacre in 1972 in Munich just because they were Jewish Israeli athletes and coaches and the killers were Palestinian terrorists. Unfortunately, on this 40th anniversary, the Olympics cannot take a minute out to remember those Jews who lost their lives after coming to this event.  Bob Costas, sports anchor  from NBC is leading the way by saying that he will honor the Jewish Olympians from 1972's massacre with a moment of silence, however.  He said the Olympic decision denying a moment of silence  was insensitive as well as puzzling.  

We had wrestlers and weightlifters:  Eliezer Halfin, Yosef Romano, Mark Slavin, David Berger, Zeev Friedman, and officials and trainers:  Yossef Gutfruend, Amitzur Shapira, Kehat Shorr, Andrei Spitzer, Jacov Springer and Moshe Weinberg. Yossef and Moshe were shot in the beginning, and the others taken hostage only to be killed later.

The worry is  this year is that there could be more attacks being the Olympics is coming right on the heels of the Bulgarian attack on Israeli youth tourists who had just finished their high school education.  More precautions are being taken.

Just a Few Past Olympians: 
Alfred Flatow, 1896 Athens for Germany, horizontal bars; killed in Holocaust
Janos Garay, Hungarian, fencing, 1924 Paris
Helene Mayer, fencing in 1928 in Amsterdam, took gold at age 17.
Ilja Szrajhman, Poland, swimming, 1936 Berlin, died in Warsaw Ghetto
Mark Spitz,  1972 Munich, gold, swimming, USA
Brad Gilbert, tennis,1988, Seoul,  bronze, singles
Larry Brown, NBA basketball, 1964, gold 
Ernie Grunfeld, NBA basketball, 1975, 1976 gold,
Irina Slutskaya, 2002 ice skating 
Sasha Cohen, ice skating, 2006, silver
Sarah Hughes, ice skating, 2002, gold
Lenny Krayzelburg, swimming, 2000, 2004, gold
Scott Goldblatt, swimming, gold, 2004.  Athens

This year the USA is sending a few Jewish contenders to the Olympics.
Jason Lezak, swimming
Anthony Ervin, swimming
Alexandra Raisman, gymnastics
Julie Zetlin, gymnastics
David Banks, rowing
Tim Morehouse, fencing
Yury Gelman, fencing coach.

Israel is sending:  
 An American born: pole vaulter.  They will have 37 contenders in 8 sports; tennis, swimming and gymnastics being a few of them.  Israel will be competing against Iran in any event this year.  Iran had refused to compete with Israel in 2004 in Athens and 2008 in Beijing.


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