Athletes

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Agnes Keleti

Born on January 9, 1921 in Budapest, Hungary, Agnes Keleti is the most successful Jewish female athlete in Olympic history. With ten Olympic medals from three Olympic Games, she stands third all-time among women for the most Olympic medals and fourth all-time as an Olympic gold medal winner.

Lilli Henoch

Lilli Henoch was born in 1899 to an upper middle-class family. Despite her merchant father’s death, a relocation to Berlin and the remarriage of her mother, the family was able to maintain its previous high standard of living. Even in childhood Lilli Henoch had developed a passion for sport, particularly track and field and team sports. This was comparatively rare for a woman in the 1920s, when track and field sports were considered unwomanly.

Andrea Gyarmati

The daughter of Olympic medalists, water polo champion Dezso Gyarmati and swimmer Eva Szekely, Andrea Gyarmati was born in Budapest, Hungary in May 1954. At the age of twelve she began serious training as a swimmer under her mother’s guidance and competed in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico in three events, reaching the finals in all three.

Maria Gorokhovskaya

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.

Charlotte Epstein

The year 1996 marked the centennial of the modern Olympic Games, and the anticipation of American women’s gold medal triumphs in swimming and diving continued a legacy of athletic excellence linked to the efforts of Jewish American Charlotte Epstein. Referred to as the “Mother of Women’s Swimming in America,” Charlotte Epstein was born to Morris and Sara (Rosenau) Epstein in New York City in September 1884. She demonstrated her love of swimming by influencing U.S. women’s swimming to reach prominence in the 1920s and 1930s. Known as “Eppie” by friends, colleagues, and swimming champions, Epstein started the renowned Women’s Swimming Association of New York, launching the national and international fame of American women swimmers in the early twentieth century.

Thelma Eisen

Tiby Eisen was an outstanding center-fielder in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) of the 1940s and 1950s, starring for nine years in the only professional women’s league in the game’s history.

Lillian Copeland

Lillian Copeland was one of the greatest overall woman athletes in the mid-1920s. Born in New York City on November 25, 1904, she was the daughter of Minnie Drasnin, a housewife, from Grodno, Poland. She was also raised by her stepfather, Abraham Copeland, the manager of a produce company, after the death of her father. She attended Los Angeles High School.

Natalie Cohen

Because Natalie Cohen’s life met the very essence of the definition of the “Georgia Women Sports Trailblazers,” she was elected a charter member in 1996. Already a Hall of Famer, this crowning honor was only one of many received throughout her life recognizing Natalie Cohen as a woman who has made significant contributions to sports, forging paths for others to follow.

Gretel Bergmann

It should come as no surprise that Gretel Bergmann could never forget Germany and everything that she had experienced in that country. But what is astonishing is that it was not the loss of a homeland but rather her exclusion from the Olympic Games that led her to complain. She felt she had had been deprived of “the thrill of a lifetime… simply because I was born as a Jew” and this is an indication of the important role sport played in her life.

Australia: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Since the beginning of British colonialization of New South Wales in 1788, when between eight and fifteen Jews were among the convicts who arrived with the First Fleet, several waves of immigration have brought the Jewish population up to its present size.

Amy Alcott

One of the greats of women’s golf, Amy Alcott has had a long and illustrious career as a member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA).

Angelica Adelstein-Rozeanu

Adelstein-Rozeanu was the first Romanian woman to win a world title in any sport. Between 1950 and 1955 she won seventeen world titles, including six straight singles championships. She took the world women’s double title three times (1953, 1955 and 1956) and the world’s mixed doubles title three times (1951–1953).

Not Just Fun and Games -- Women, Jews, and the Olympics

by  Lily Rabinoff-Goldman

The first Olympics I remember well were the 1988 Summer Games, held in Seoul. We were sitting shiva for my grandfather on Long Island. I remember my sister and I lying on our grandparents' bed (my grandmother always had pink satin sheets) and being completely mesmerized by the tiny female gymnasts as they tumbled across the floor. To my knowledge, none of those women were Jewish (Kerri Strug made her debut in 1992, and the Israeli gymnasts who competed in 1988 likely did not make it to American television), but American Jewish women have made a strong impact on the Olympic Games over the past 100-plus years.

Annie Londonderry's Wild Ride

by  Lily Rabinoff-Goldman

Since leaving my 5th  floor walkup apartment building and graduating to a home with enough space for a bicycle, I have been a woman obsessed. Riding my bike is faster, cleaner, and way more fun than riding the subway or the bus. Apparently, I am not the first Jewish woman in Boston to feel this way.

Topics: Athletes

Jewesses On Wheels

by  Jordan Namerow

A woman riding a bicycle in full Victorian dress doesn't freely associate with being Jewish …except in the case of Annie Cohen Kopchovsky (who adopted the decidedly less ethnic name of "Annie Londonderry"). In courageous, chutzpah-like ways, Annie -- a Jewish immigrant living in Boston in June 1894 -- shattered the social conventions of her time.

Topics: Athletes

Mt. Everest, Healthy Jammies, Safe Sofas

by  Jordan Namerow

One of the recurring items on my ever-evolving list of “things to do in my life,” is to hike the Appalachian Trail. Whether or not I’ll actually do that remains in question, but if I could choose an ideal companion to join me on such a journey, I’d most likely choose a Jewess named Arlene Blum.

Women Who Go the Distance

by  Jordan Namerow

Today is the Boston Marathon, the oldest annual 26-miler; the "granddaddy" of road races. In just a few hours, hundreds of bodies will whiz through the city, pounding the pavement right outside my window. Without feeling side cramps, pulled hamstrings, or the throbbing of achy joints, the marathon is, from a spectator's vantage point (and perhaps from an ecstatically adrenaline-jacked runner's standpoint, too), a rather exhilarating, life-affirming, freeing experience. And yet, the opportunity to feel such freedom and exhilaration wasn't always afforded to everyone.

Topics: Athletes

Wimbledon Pays Up To Pay Equal!

by  Jordan Namerow

As a former tennis player and tennis team captain (and more importantly, as a feminist), I was happy to learn that Wimbledon, the oldest and perhaps most prestigious event in the sport of tennis, has finally decided to award equal prize-money to men and women. Ending an unequal pay policy that dates back 123 years, this decision is certainly something to celebrate, though it seems like a no-brainer. It’s high time that male and female athletes get equal pay, right?

Topics: Feminism, Athletes

Competing Against Men?

by MA

Kudos goes to Kelly Kulick, who is the first woman to qualify for the Professional Bowlers Association Tour. She's a 29-year old from Union, N.J. who works in her father's auto-body shop. According to the New York Times article about Kulick, published on June 15, some men in the PBA are upset at the idea of a woman playing on what has traditionally been a men's sport and a men's tour.

Topics: Feminism, Athletes
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