An Israeli professor who competed in the walking competition at the 1968 and 1972 Olympiads has been honored for his outstanding services to the Olympic movement.
Shaul Ladany, an engineering professor at Ben-Gurion University, was awarded the Pierre de Coubertin Medal from the Council of the Olympic Order at a meeting of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne.
Ladany was cited as a "person with unusual outstanding sports achievements during a span covering over four decades."
The 71-year-old still holds the world record in the 50-mile walk, which he set in 1972.
Born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, Ladany was sent to Bergen-Belsen when he was eight-years-old. Originally a marathon runner, Ladany was Israel's only track and field representative in the 1972 Olympics in Munich.
The morning after his race, Palestinian terrorists broke into the Olympic Village holding 11 Israelis hostage.
Ladany has won the Israeli national walking championships 28 times and the US championship six times. In 1972, he won the gold medal in the 100 km at the World Championships.
Despite his high-level devotion to sports, he "moonlighted" as a scientist and university professor, pursuing a very successful academic career.
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He began his athletic career as a marathon runner, but turned to walking in the early 1960s.
He also won the Israeli, the championship in Belgium twice; Switzerland once in 1972, and in South Africa in 1975.
In 1976, Shaul became the first person ever to win both the American Open and Masters (40 years and over) 75-kilometer walking championship. He repeated the feat in 1977 and 1981,by which time the event had become a 100-km race. Ladany also won the 20-km, and 50-km walk at the 1973 Maccabiah Games. In 2006,at age 70, Ladany set.