“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”
— Wilma Rudolph, American runner and three-time gold medalist
Today marks the start of the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio. It’s a world event with an unmatched footprint in the sports arena. These games are expected to include over 11,000 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees taking part in about 28 sports between August 5 and 21.
This ceremony and demonstration of athletic skill has always served to unite and bring pride to those taking part. On a smaller scale, yet with similar sentiment, the Mayerson JCC recently sent about 20 teen athletes to Columbus take part in the JCC Maccabi Games on July 24 – 29.
The JCC Maccabi Games originated from the world Maccabiah Games that started in Israel in 1932. The movement was the brainchild of Yosef Yekutieli, who saw the 1912 Olympic games and was so moved that he created an event that merged the spirit of the Olympics with the desire to preserve and honor Jewish identity.
Every year, teens from JCC’s all over the US gather to compete in around 14 different sports.
Representing the 2016 Mayerson JCC delegation were: David Benzaquen, Sarit Benzaquen, Grant Bolotin, Eli Dauer, Avital Isakov, Jonathan Klein, Alex Levy, Noah Levy, Jonathan Levy, Samuel Marcus, Samuel Miles, Calvin Miles, Ben Peri, Jacob Peri, Gabriella Segal, Brandon Sichel, Evan Sichel, Jet Taylor, and Emma Zelkind.
The Mayerson JCC delegation’s Samuel Marcus brought home a gold medal in Boys 13-14 Tennis and the 16u Boys Soccer brought home a silver medal. In addition to the recognition of skill, Gabby Segal received a Midot medal. This medal that is given out to a select few people during the course of the week who go above and beyond to display the core values of the Maccabi Games.
It just goes to show that the Olympic spirit goes far beyond the competitions happening in Rio. It’s possible in so many ways to exhibit the spirit of the Olympics and Rachmanus.