The history of the Games: Israelis on top in swimming at 11th Maccabiah

July 3, 2009 05:06


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The eleventh Maccabiah experienced another surge of growth - to 3,150 athletes from 33 countries, and the addition of sailing to the sporting events offered. This time, the games were openly marketed as an attempt to bring former Israelis back to the country and inspire Jews around the world to make aliyah. The Jewish Agency Immigration and Absorption Department organized several evening events and organized the Aliyah Expo in Tel Aviv. The 11th Maccabiah showed a shift in Jewish athletic participation. There was a decline in participation in classic Olympic sports and a rise in participation in Anglo-Saxon sports, such as cricket and tennis. The swimming competitions garnered the most attention as the Israeli swimmers improved dramatically and gave some competition to the American swimmers when the Israelis broke 18 swimming records that year. Almost 2,000 awards were presented to Maccabiah participants. Outstanding athletes included Israeli tennis star Shlomo Glickstein, American 400 meter hurdler Brian Mendstein who set a new record of 52.07 seconds and swimmer Andy Zaltzman who won the 100m freestyle.

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