Post-Cold War 14th Maccabiah welcomes Eastern European Athletes

By ARIEL ZIRULNICK
July 7, 2009 07:22

The first Israel Olympic medalist, Yael Arad, lit the 14th Maccabiah flame in the summer of 1993, welcoming 5,061 athletes from 48 countries. As the first Maccabiah to be held in the post-Cold War world, many of the former Soviet republics sent delegations for the first time. Turkey made its first appearance in 24 years with 77 athletes and the South African delegation attended under their own flag as apartheid was slowly dismantled. The sheer number of members of the international media in attendance required Bezek to install a communications center on site. The newly constructed Maccabiah Torch lit at the Opening Ceremony was 15 meters high with a plume that lasted for six hours and jumped an additional 1.5 meters. The light it cast could be seen for several miles. Events were held all over the country, from Metullah along the Lebanese border to Ein Gedi, next to the Dead Sea. However, athletic achievement lagged behind previous years. Few records were broken, several star athletes canceled their appearance and Israel won fewer medals than in past games although it still won the most out of any country there, followed again by the United States and Canada.


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