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Sports

Does cheerleading matter to Jewish women?

The National Collegiate Athletic Association is considering a proposal to recognize competitive cheerleading as an emerging sport, a step towards legitimacy as a championship sport. Anyone who has seen competitive cheerleading (and the injuries cheerleaders often sustain) can understand why; it’s a physically demanding and dangerous version of gymnastics where people perform flips and handstands not on a balance beam, but on top of a human pyramid.

Rusty Kanokogi, 1935 - 2009

Put me in a jar with Rena "Rusty" Kanokogi, give it a few shakes and pull me out. I'd never again be boring, weak, uncaring or humorless. I would have a lasting coating of spunk, tirelessness, compassion and fervor. I would be indomitable, unforgettable and endearing to everyone but the foot-dragging powers-that-be who oppose me.

Rena Kanokogi, pushing 70, has been called many things, but is most known as the first lady of women's judo worldwide. Thank goodness she's somehow finding time in her frenetic schedule to chronicle her journey.

Navah Paskowitz-Walther: The Jewish Mother of Surfing’s First Family

Knowing Navah Paskowitz-Walther today as a San Fernando Valley stay-at-home mom who is active in her synagogue and children’s Jewish day school, it is hard to believe that, as a child, she lived a peripatetic existence in a 24-foot camper.

Laura Spector's Olympic debut

Two years ago we cheered on swimmer Dara Torres, fencer Sada Jacobson, marathoner Deena Kastor, and pole Vaulter Jillian Schwartz at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. This year, only one Jewish American woman is competing in the Vancouver Olympic games, and in one of the more interesting events. Laura Spector made her Olympic debut in Vancouver, competing in the women's biathlon, a combination of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. 

The decade's best Jewish athlete?

Last week the Jewish Chronicle asked us to nominate the most important Jewish person in sports over the last decade.  They suggested Israeli footballer Yossi Benayoun, European judo champion Arik Ze’evi, tennis star Andy Ram, and American swimmer Jason Lezak.  Tablet magazine picked up on the story, and added Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis to the list. Excuse me, but where are the Jewish women athletes? Have they been invisible for the past ten years?  Considering the Associated Press' recent nomination of two horses for "Female Athlete of the Year," maybe so.

Women’s basketball pioneer Nancy Lieberman becomes the first woman to coach a NBA D-League men’s basketball team

November 4, 2009

Nancy Lieberman, the first woman to play professional basketball in a men’s league, becomes the first woman to coach a professional men’s basketball team.

Bobbie Rosenfeld

During the workday, Canadian Olympic medalist Fanny "Bobbie" Rosenfeld was a stenographer in a Toronto chocolate factory. It was only on evenings and weekends that she had time to resume her role as the "world's best girl athlete." On any given day she could be seen winning softball games before crowds of thousands, breaking national and international track records or leading an ice hockey or basketball team to a league championship.

Swimmer Dara Torres qualifies for fourth Olympics

August 10, 2000

At the U.S. Olympic trials, swimmer Dara Torres qualified to compete in her fourth Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Eight years later, Torres made history again by competing in her fifth Olympics in Beijing.

Lillian Copeland wins Olympic gold

August 2, 1932

Lillian Copeland won an Olympic gold medal in discus. At the previous Olympics, in 1928, she had won the silver in the same event. Her 1932 toss set a new world record.

Bobbie Rosenfeld goes for the gold

July 31, 1928

Canadian Bobbie Rosenfeld won an Olympic silver medal in the 100-meter race. The 1928 Olympics, held in Amsterdam, were the first in which women were allowed to compete in track & field events.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Sports." (Viewed on December 11, 2017) <https://jwa.org/topics/sports>.

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