Isaac 'Ike' Berger, Weightlifting

Haaretz
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Haaretz

Technically speaking, Ike Berger was Israel's first Olympian - beating judoka Yael Arad to that title by 36 years.

Born in 1936 in Jerusalem, in what was then Palestine, Berger and his family moved to New York City in 1949. In 1955, the 19-year-old Berger, still not an American citizen, won the senior U.S. weightlifting title. He repeated the feat in the next two years after he which he was granted citizenship.

In the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Berger won the gold medal with a lift of 776.5 pounds (352.5 kgs).

The next year, he returned to the country of his birth for the 5th Maccabiah - and promptly smashed the world record in the featherweight competition, pressing 258 pounds (117.1 kgs) to become the first athlete to set a world record in any discipline on Israeli soil.

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