A Brief History of Israel at the Games

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Number of medals: 7

Debut: Helsinki 1952

Number of Olympic Games (including 2012):15

Number of participating athletes: 290

- Israel has sent a delegation to every Olympic Games since 1952, except in 1980, when it participated in the American-led boycott of Moscow.

-Israel has never won a medal in a sport in which the athlete wears sports shoes. 

- Sailors Yoel Sela and Eldad Amirmissed a medal in Seoul in 1988 because they refused to competeon Yom Kippur. Boxer Yehuda  Ben-Haim was also ousted for the same reason. The sailors in the men’s 470 class, Ran and Dan Tortan, ignored the delegation’s instructions and participated that day. They were thrown out of the Israeli team.

- Vered Borochovski swam at Athens 2004 without her goggles, which had a torn strap.

-Michael Kolganov is the only Israeli medalist who wasn’t born in Israel. He was born in Tashkent before immigrating in 1995.

- Kayaker Rami Zur represented Israel at Sydney in 2000. Four years later, he represented the United States in Athens.

- Judoka Daniela Krukower was unable to claim the one Israeli slot for the -63kg

category so appeared for Argentina in 2004.

- Israel was represented by two cyclists in Rome, Henry Ohayon and  Yitzhak Ben David. Neither completed the route: One collided with a cyclist and was injured, the other dropped out.

- The only Arab athlete to represent Israel in an individual sport was weightlifter Edward Maron, at Rome in 1960.

- Soccer referee MenachemAshkenazi officiated at the gold medal game (Hungary 2,Czechoslovakia 1 ) in Tokyo in 1964.

- Sailor Yoel Sela and rifle shooter Guy Starik hold the Israeli record for participation in four Olympic Games. In the upcoming games they will be joined by judoka Arik Ze’evi.

- The largest Israeli delegation was the one that traveled to Beijing in 2008: 43 athletes. The smallest was sent to Melbourne in 1956 and numbered only three.

- The soccer and basketball teams were invited toparticipate in Melbourne, due to the wholesale departure of teams. Israel refused, one reason being the Sinai Campaign.

- Sports Minister Limor Livnat could not restrain herself when windsurfer Gal Fridman won the gold medal at Athens in 2004. At the end of the medal-awarding ceremony, she burst onto the podium and embraced the surprised winner.

- In Montreal in 1976, Esther Roth became the first Israeli track athlete to make a final (100-meter hurdles, finished sixth ).

The 11 athletes who were murdered in the Munich 1972 massacre: David Berger, Ze’ev Friedman, Yossef Gutfreund, Eliezer Halfin, Yossef Romano, Amitzur Shapira, Kehat Shorr, Mark Slavin, Andre Spitzer, Yakov Springer, Moshe Weinberg. 

Haile Satayin
Esther Roth.