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Adam Edelman, First Orthodox Jewish Male Olympian, Showcases his Tireless Journey to Get Israel to the Olympics

While Israel may only get “a quarter of an inch of snow a couple days a year,” Orthodox Jewish Olympian Adam Edelman says that bobsled is “the perfect sport for an Israeli. “It’s controlled chaos, the ability to overcome danger, to rise above and [be fearless],” he shares in a new video detailing his Olympic dreams. The video was made by and posted on the official Olympics YouTube page last week.

When you’re trying to represent Israel at the Olympics, especially in a winter sport, you need a lot of grit. Edelman oozes that passion from his sweat-laden pores.

While he was born and raised in America, he calls Israel his home. “The best day of my life is when I became an Israeli citizen,” he says. “There are no words for the connection.”

Edelman did succeed in representing Israel in skeleton in the 2018 Olympics and was the first ever to represent the country in any sliding sport. From there, he decided to move to bobsled due to a “series of events” that took him out of skeleton and put a team together. “Skeleton was hard but bobsled takes it to another level.”

Edelman worked tirelessly to find a bobsled team and raise money for a bobsled, team uniforms, a coach (which they didn’t have for awhile) and everything else an Olympic team needs to make it. He worked a normal job during the day to make ends meet, then spent five to eight hours on team related issues and another two hours for training. “I’m lucky if I get six hours of sleep,” he explains. “For a while I was driving for Uber to help the team out.”

When the team was able to hire a coach, they found a former Olympic champion from Germany, Sandra Kiriasis. “The Germans have a [unique] history with Israel and the Jewish people. 2022 is exactly 50 years after the Olympic games in Munich. A German girl training the Israeli team for the Olympics? It [gives me] goosebumps, you know?” Sandra shares in the video.

Unfortunately, the team finished just 0.2 seconds behind what they needed and didn’t qualify for this year’s Beijing Olympics. Of course, Edelman was disappointed but is still not giving up. Now, he’s setting his sights on the next Olympic Games in 2026 in Milan. 

“All of the hard work and pain is worth it if it just leads to one positive thing,” he says. “Israel needs this. I know people don’t think Israel needs this but Israel needs this.”

 

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