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August 6, 2004     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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PAGE 14 HERITAG AUGI Olympians JOE JACOBI (r) and MATT TAYLOR paddle their canoe during a World Cup Whitewater Slalom competition in Augsburg, Germany, in 2003. By E. B. Solomont NEW YORK (JTA)--Joe Jacobi's pain as he prepares for the Olympics is more emotional than physical. The canoeist/kayaker, 341 told JTA by e-mail that as he prepares for the Olympics in Athens, he misses his 3-year-old daughter, Seu Jane--named for the Span- ish village that hosted some rowing competitions in the 1992 Summer Games--who is at home with his wife in Tennessee. The pursuit of an Olympic medal usually conjures up a youthful single-mindedness, but like Jacobi, many of the 15 Jewish athletes competing for the U.S. team at the Athens Games are veteran athletes who competed in previous Olympics. Jacobi, who grew up in a Washington suburb and is nicknamed the "paddling papa," won gold at the Olympics in 1992, the same year he was named USA Canoe/Kayak male athlete of the year. Another veteran, swimmer Lenny Krayzelburg, a triple gold medal winner at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, will also compete in Athens, where the Games will get underway on Aug. 13. Krayzelburg, a Jewish im- migrant from Odessa--in what is now Ukraine--also has been a Jewish role model FLORI I Publication Date: September 3, 2004 Advertising Deadline: August 25, 2004 of sorts, once telling reporters that "Being Jewish is part of me, it's part of my culture." He got his first American swimming experience, and his first job, at a JCC in Los Angeles shortly after his fam- ily arrived here in 1988 from the Soviet Union. After setting world records in the 100 -meter and 200 -me- ter backstroke at the 2000 Olympics, he participated in the Maccabiah in Israel. Nearly 29, an age consid- ered ancient in a sport mostly dominated by teenagers and those in their early 20s, Krayzelburg made headlines in mid-July when he quali- fied for the American team by finishing the 100-meter backstroke in 54.06 seconds, behind world champion Aaron Perisol. His teammate, 28-year- old Jason Lezak of Irvine, Calif another Jewish swimmer, won the 100-meter freestyle after setting a new American record of 48.17 seconds in the semifinals. "Based on what you hear in the general public, you'd think there wasn't much represen- tation, but the list we have is very impressive," said Jed Margolis, executive director of Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel. In certain sports, he added, Jews are at ~h mp of the worm "TdKe, for example, ~aaand Emily Jacobson. This dynamic duo of Jewish sisters from Atlanta may be Olympic neophytes, but they will enter the Olympic arena with high expectations. Sada Jacobson, 21, is the top-ranked woman fencer in the world and in the U.S. and has said in press interviews that making the Olympic squad is honor enough. Her teammates likely are honored to be competing alongside her, though: Not only is she the first Ameri- can woman and second American fencer to reach the top of the world rankings, she is also a four-time world championship team member and a two-time NCAA saber champion. Her younger sister, Emily, 17, is just a few lunges behind and the pair's domination~of women's fencing has been compared to that of tennis' well-known sisters, Venus and Serena Williams. Emily, one of two athletes to receive a 2002 Jules D. Major Award to Jewish High School Athletes of the Year, was ranked second in U.S. sa- ber fencing in 2003 and was a 2003 Pan American Games bronze medalist. The Games in Athens will also be the first for 28-year- old fencer Dan Kellner. This six-time world championship team member from central New Jersey finished second in the foil competition at the national championships in +1997, 1998 and 2000. But in 2000. ~ Jmer did not me Olympic squad. after a year hiatus, he came back and won a gold medal at the 2003 Pan American games, and his first national championship in 2004. For Kellner, making the Olympic team reflects the eagerness of a younger generation that is following closely in the footsteps of those before them. "My friends who have done it before say it's an experience that will change ydurl! said in an New Jersey Jewish "I plan to heed and walk get once around the he said. In other sports, veteran Jewish be representing the States. In track and field, [ Drossin Kastor, who peted in Sydney runs at home in California, marathon; West Palm Beach, Olympic team, and t net of five major competitions in also compete. Rami Zur a in the canoe/kayak' tion for Israel in compete this year for1 His dual c born in currently ego--allowed for both me for sports But Maccabi USA'S lis good-naturedly international stepping stone cabi Games, place in July 2005. ping stone," win gold medals, part of the Jewish very special also." JTA Tugend tributed to this t 'i | ill! ! ~, Photos by Richard 14. JCC Road Race: 'And the winners are ' (Top) Vinnie Ambrico (#724), 21, was the men's winner in 16:35. (Bottom) Heather Schulz, 30, was the fastest woman in a time of 19:25.