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10 Jews that have Reached the Highest Achievements in Sports

Jewish mothers may want their offsprings to be lawyers or doctors – but here are some Jews that scaled the highest pinnacles in sports.

Don’t Forget to follow the Maccabiah in July 2017.

Wimbledon Tennis Title
Born In Bayonne, New Jersey, Dick Savitt taught himself Tennis and never took a lesson in his life. He would end up winning Wimbledon and the Australian Open in 1951. He also participated and won, at the 1961 Maccabiah.


100m at the Olympic Games
Harold Abrahams’ win in the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris was immortalised in the Academy Award winning movie “Chariots of Fire”.

photo: (IOC Olympic Museum, Switzerland)

photo: (IOC Olympic Museum, Switzerland)

The NBA All-Time scoring leader
In his 16 years on the NBA, beginning in the leagues’ inaugural season, Dolph Schayes was 12-times All-Star and led the Syracuse Nationals to the 1955 Championship. The son of Romanian Jewish immigrants was the first player to reach 15,000 career points. His son Dan also played in the NBA and the Maccabiah.

photo: The Sporting News Archives

photo: The Sporting News Archives

The Formula-One World Championship
Born in East London, South Africa, Jody Scheckter captured the World Championship for Ferrari in 1979. He later became active in biodynamic farming.

 

photo: Lothar Spurzem

photo: Lothar Spurzem

The Olympic record for Gold Medals in single game
Mark Spitz won seven Olympic Gold Medals in Munich in 1972 a record that held 36 years until broken by Michael Phelps in 2008. Spitz participated twice in the Maccabiah.

 

Mark Spitz receiving gold medal at the 8th Maccabiah, Israel 1969. Beit Hatfutsot, the Oster Visual Documentation Center, courtesy of Arie Knafer, Tel Aviv

Mark Spitz receiving gold medal at the 8th Maccabiah, Israel 1969. Beit Hatfutsot, the Oster Visual Documentation Center, courtesy of Arie Knafer, Tel Aviv

The Roland-Garros Clay Court Tennis Championship
Hungarian Zsuzsa Körmöczy won the lucrative French Open title in 1958. She was the first player from the Communist Bloc to win a major tennis title.

 

source: nemzetisport.hu

source: nemzetisport.hu

The Olympic Ladies Figure Skating
Ukrainian Oksana Baiul, 1994 Figure Skating Olympic Champion, was raised by a single mother under rumors that she was Jewish – in an anti-Semitic environment. Following her career she researched her routes and confirmed her identity. She now leads a Jewish life.

Four gold Medals in Olympic Gymnastics
Agnes Keleti survived the Holocaust hiding in the Hungarian countryside, while her father perished in Auschwitz. In 1952 she won a gold medal in gymnastics the Helsinki Olympics and four years later was the most successful athlete at the Melbourne Games winning four gold medals at age 35. She then defected and moved to Israel.

Agnes Keleti wins Gold Medal at Helsinki Olympic Games, 1952. Beit Hatfutsot, the Oster Visual Documentation Center, courtesy of Agnes Keleti, Hertzliya

Agnes Keleti wins Gold Medal at Helsinki Olympic Games, 1952. Beit Hatfutsot, the Oster Visual Documentation Center, courtesy of Agnes Keleti, Hertzliya

 

Two boxing World Championships in one bout
Barney Ross, born Dov Ber Rosofsky, was the son of a Talmudic scholar murdered in robbery in Chicago. Orphaned, he reverted to life on the streets and at one point worked for famous mobster Al Capone. By defeating Tony Canzoneri in 1933 he became World Champions in two weight divisions. He later won the Silver Star for extraordinary bravery during WWII.

photo: Stefan64

photo: Stefan64

… and The Chess World Championship
Well, this one is a bit easier. Since an official World Championship exists the title has been in Jewish hands for 67 of 131years. German mathematician and philosopher Emanuel Lasker held it for the longest period – 27 years. In addition, Hungarian Judit Polgar was world number one from age 13 till her retirement at age 40. She was never Women’s World Champion as she refused to play in female-only competitions. Polgar participated in the Maccabiah.

 

Beit Hatfutsot