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What are the chances of a Jewish athlete winning a medal at Sochi?

By Mason White 8:47 AM February 5, 2014
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By: Ari Schwartz
Jews are known for being good at many things, (search Jewish Nobel prize winners) but sports isn’t one of them. However how accurate is this stigma?

Jews have been competing in the Olympics since the first games in 1896, and have won medals at every summer Olympics (The Nazis in 1936 and the Palestinian terrorists in 1972 couldn’t stop us).

Some of the greatest Olympic athletes of all time are Jewish. Dara Torres who won 12 Olympic medals and Mark Spitz (arguably the greatest Jewish athlete of all time) won 11 Olympic medals.

As a matter of fact, Jews have won 342 Olympic medals. However what about the winter Olympics? Out of the 342 medals, only 17 came in the winter games. (I know what you’re thinking. The winter Olympics didn’t start till 1924 and has fewer events than the summer games, therefore fewer medals. Nevertheless you get my point).

So what are the chances of a Jew winning a medal in Sochi? There are three Jewish athletes with realistic chances of winning our 18th winter medal.

American figure skater Charlie White might be our greatest hope. The six time US national champion is the only Jew competing in Sochi who has already won an Olympic medal. White, who will compete in the pairs event, won a silver medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Canadian figure skater, Dylan Moskovitch will also compete in the pairs event. Moskovitch won the Canadian national championship in 2011 and has high hopes for Sochi.

At just 19 years old, Jason Brown will be one of the youngest athletes competing. The American figure skater will compete in the singles event. Brown won a silver medal at the 2014 US championship in Boston.

You’re probably asking yourself, what about Israel, the country that the majority of Jews on Earth call home? Israel will be sending 5 athletes to Sochi.

Despite Israel’s controversial decision to hold higher standards than the International Olympic Committee, (several Israeli athletes met the international Olympic committee’s standards but did not meet the Israeli Olympic committee’s standards, and therefore did not qualify for the Olympics) Israel does not have realistic chances of winning a medal.

So why is there such a large margin between Jewish accomplishments at the summer Olympics and at the winter Olympics? Perhaps Jews tend to live in warmer climates? That doesn’t seem to stop the Jamaican bobsled team, who will be competing this year for the 6th time.

If Israel and Jews want to become a dominant force at the winter Olympics it’ll take a lot of hard work and determination. Maybe some day, instead of hearing the Swiss yell “Eins! Zwei! Drei!” At the top of the bobsled track, or the Jamaicans yelling “Feel the rhythm! Feel the Rhyme!” (Search cool runnings), we will hear the Israeli bobsled team yelling “Shalosh, Arba Ve!!”