The Tribe at the Winter Olympics: 2018 Edition
The Winter Olympic Games opening ceremony is on February 9. The Israelis are sending a 10-member team. I know of four American Jews and one Canadian Jew competing. Here is the run-down on the Jewish Olympic athletes from the Diaspora. Also noted: an alternate American team member and a great skier with some Jewish ancestry.
ARIELLE GOLD, 21, a snowboarder, is a native of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. In 2012, she won a gold medal in the half-pipe event at the FIS Junior World Championships (“FIS” are the French language initials for the International Ski Federation, the world’s governing body for winter sports). In 2013, at age 16, she won the gold medal in the adult FIS half-pipe world championships. She was on the 2014 Olympic team, but an injury stopped her from competing. Her brother, TAYLOR GOLD, 24, also competed in the half-pipe, and was on the 2014 US Olympic team.
JARED GOLDBERG, 26, a skier, was born in Boston and raised in Utah. He had his bar mitzvah at a ski lodge. He was on the 2014 Olympic team, finishing 11th in the men’s combined and 19th in the men’s giant slalom. He’s been strong on the ski circuit during the last 18 months and is poised to be a high finisher, even if a medal is unlikely.
EMERY LEHMAN, 21, a speed skater, was born in Chicago, and raised in Oak Park, a Chicago suburb. He was a top high school ice hockey player and got into speed skating to improve his hockey game. A series of junior speed skating championships lead to an Olympic team spot in 2014. He was the American high finisher at the 2014 Games (16th in the 5000 meters). His mother, MARCIA, is a Senior Development Executive for the American Friends of the Hebrew Univ. of Israel.
EVAN WEINSTOCK, 26, a member of the four-man bobsled team, was born and raised in Las Vegas. He was an outstanding high school football player and got into bobsledding through his participation in the decathlon. At Brown Univ., Weinstock set the school record in the decathlon and was a four-time Ivy League champion. Weinstock's father is Jewish and his mother, who recently died, was not. Jewish Sports Review contacted Weinstock when he was at Brown. He told them he was raised in no faith, but had no problem with being identified as a Jewish athlete in the Review.
JASON BROWN, 23, a figure skater, was born in Los Angeles and grew-up in a Chicago suburb. He had a bar mitzvah. He was on the 2014 Olympic team and won a team bronze medal. He performed well enough in 2017-2018 to be named a team alternate.
Special Note: Mikaela Shiffrin, 22, an American alpine ski racer, is the reigning Overall World Cup champion and the reigning Olympic and world champion in slalom. Her last name was an inheritance from her paternal grandfather, who was Jewish. He was her only Jewish grandparent. A few years ago, Jewish Sports Review magazine spoke to her brother, also a skier. He said that he and his sister were raised in no faith and don’t identify as Jewish.
DYLAN MOSCOVITCH, 33, is a Canadian figure skater. He was born and raised in Toronto. He had a bar mitzvah and took a Birthright Trip to Israel. He is a certified instructor of Krav Maga, a self-defense system used by the Israeli Defense Forces. In 2014, he and his then partner, Kirsten Towers-Moore, won the Olympic silver medal in the mixed pairs figure skating event. That partnership ended in 2014 and he soon teamed up with Lubov Ilyushechkina, a top Russian skater. They met first via Facebook and then he gave her a live try-out. They clicked immediately. To date, his competition results with his new partner are a little worse than those with his old partner. But they do have a medal chance.
A Little Athletic Humor with a Jewish spin
Seth Meyers recently had a feature in which he pretended to explain new teen slang. All the so-called teen slang was, in fact, completely made up by his writers. One new teen slang term, Meyers said, is “menschwarmer.” He defined it as: “The Jewish kid who should be cut from the team, but he’s just too good a guy.” Then Meyers used it in a sentence: “We were finally gonna tell Josh that he’s cut. But then that menschwarmer shows up at practice with Rice Krispies squares and now the coach is letting him start.”