WHILE IT wasn’t a shock for Yarden Gerbi to win an Olympic medal, the valiant manner in which she rallied back from a tough quarterfinal loss for bronze on Tuesday night is a lesson in determination and perserverence that any athlete can learn from..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israeli Olympic judoka Yarden Gerbi could get a monthly bonus for her bronze medal win if a bill proposed by MK Oded Forrer (Yisrael Beytenu) on Wednesday becomes law.
Forrer’s initiative would have the government pay homegrown Olympic medalists the equivalent of minimum wage each month in exchange for dedicating one day a week to sports education.
The content of the sports education program, which would take place throughout the country, would be determined by the Culture and Sport Ministry.
The bill would cost the state less than NIS 400,000 a year to pay the current total of seven medal winners.
Forrer said Olympic athletes dedicate their lives to sport, but their injuries often cut their sporting careers short.
They then enter the workforce at a relatively late age and have difficulty making a living, he said, and the country should show them appreciation and make sure they can reach their goals without concern for their future.
“Yarden Gerbi brought great honor to our country and is an ambassador of the spirit of athleticism,” Forrer said.
“We must encourage athletes to win medals and reach achievements, and we can only do that by ensuring their economic future.”
Forrer said the goal of his bill is “to prevent a situation in which athletes are forgotten after a few years and have to leave the country to look for work.”
The MK brought the example of Michael Kolganov, who won a bronze medal in the 500-meter sprint canoeing event at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. He moved to Germany last year because he could not find work as a kayaking coach in Israel.