Gretel Bergmann was a highly successful German track and field athlete. While studying at London Polytechnic, she became the British high jump champion in 1934. Returning to Germany to train for the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, she was denied entry to the German team even though she tied the German high jump record of 1.60 meters.
Charlotte “Eppy” Epstein helped popularize women’s swimming and coached Olympic athletes who broke more than fifty world records. Epstein also started the renowned Women’s Swimming Association of New York, which launched the national and international fame of American women swimmers in the early twentieth century.
Ukrainian-born Maria Gorokhovskaya was the top performer among all athletes, both male and female, at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, where, at the "advanced" age of thirty-one, she earned seven medals in the Games' gymnastics competitions. She went on to help the USSR win gold at the 1954 World Championships and was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1991.
Andrea Gyarmati is a Hungarian Olympic medalist in swimming. In her short but impressive professional swimming career, she won 28 Hungarian national championships, set two world records, and won two Olympic medals before retiring from swimming to become a pediatrician.
In 1944, when the Germans invaded Hungary, gymnast Agnes Keleti bought fake identification papers and carried the bodies of the dead to mass graves during the battle of Budapest. After the war, she returned to gymnastics; her career highlight was the 1956 Olympics, where 35-year-old Keleti won many medals, including four gold for uneven parallel bars, balance beam, floor exercise and combined exercise-team.
Hailed as one of the greats of women’s basketball, Nancy Lieberman set a record as the youngest Olympic medalist in basketball and was inducted into multiple sports halls of fame. When the Women’s Basketball League briefly disbanded, she became the first woman to play for a men’s professional team.
Women have been involved in sports in Israel since the Yishuv period, participating as teams, as individuals, and as coaches. Though more women are now participating in competitive sports, the field still reflects a masculine culture of power struggle and a desire to defeat the enemy. More recent political efforts in Israel have attempted to achieve women's equality in athletics.
This article gives an overview of the participation of Jewish women in Austrian sport from the Habsburg monarchy to the present day. Drawing on selected biographies of sportswomen and functionaries, and with a regional focus on the capital city of Vienna, it explores the double relationship between female emancipation and Jewish self-assertion in an environment that had long been male-dominated and anti-Semitic.
Women’s participation in Jewish gymnastics clubs increased significantly during the first two decades of the twentieth century. The Jewish sports movement grew during the 1920s, allowing women to participate in cross-country running, swimming, and tennis. After German sports clubs annulled Jewish membership in 1933, women poured into these Jewish sports groups.
Born in Budapest, Eva Szekely was forced to stop swimming during the Nazi occupation of Hungary. However, she returned to the sport after the war and went on to win thirty-two national individual swimming titles and eleven national team titles. At the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, she set a new Olympic record in the 200-meter breaststroke.