מֹשֶׁה The Greatest Jewish athletes of all time



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Harold Abrahams, track and field
The British-born athlete will not only be remembered as the first Jew – and the first non-American – to win the 100-meter dash at the Olympics, but also as the man who redefined the modern sport of athletics.
Angelica Adelstein-Rozeanu, table tennis
Generally considered the greatest female table tennis player of all time, winning 17 World Championship titles, including six straight Singles championships from 1950 to 1955.
Ali Bacher, cricket
Regarded as one of the greatest cricketers in South African history, Bacher’s greatest contribution was as administrator of the South African Cricket Board, a position he assumed in 1981.
Victor Gyozo Barna, table tennis
Once described as “the greatest table tennis player who ever lived,” Barna amassed a total of 32 World Championships medals in a career that spanned six years – 23 gold, six silver and three bronze.
Isaac ‘Ike’ Berger, weightlifting
Technically Israel’s first Olympian, the Jerusalem-born Berger won gold for the U.S. at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne with a lift of 776.5 pounds (352.5 kgs).
Lillian Copeland, track and field
Unquestionably the greatest female athlete of her generation, and excelling in shot put, discus and javelin, Copeland set a remarkable six world records in each of the disciplines between 1925 and 1932.
Gal Fridman, windsurfing
al Fridman’s place in Jewish sporting legend is guaranteed by the fact that he was the first Israeli to stand on the winner’s podium and listen to “Hatikva,” being played.
Hank Greenberg, baseball
The first Jewish superstar in baseball and the first Jewish ballplayer elected to the Baseball Hall Of Fame, Hank Greenberg made Joe DiMaggio’s ‘eyes pop out’ when he first saw him at the bat.
Agnes Keleti, gymnastics
Winner of a staggering 10 Olympic medals – including five gold – Agnes Keleti is the most successful female Jewish athlete of all time. Now 84, Keleti says she can still turn cartwheels.
Sandy Koufax, baseball
With a 25-game win record in three seasons, five straight ERA titles, and a new standard with 382 strikeouts in 1965, Koufax was also the youngest ever inductee to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Lenny Krayzelburg, swimming
The U.S. swimmer broke three world records in 1999 and four Olympic gold medals in the 2000 and 2004 Games. At one point, he owned all six world records in backstroke, long course and short course.
Benny Leonard, boxing
Born Benjamin Leiner and known as the Ghetto Wizard, Leonard held the World Lightweight Championship for nearly seven years before retiring unbeaten in 1925.
Sid Luckman, football
The most successful Jewish football player in NFL history, Luckman spent nine seasons as quarterback of the Chicago Bears, winning four NFL Championships and five Western Conference titles.
Daniel Mendoza, boxing
Boxing as “Mendoza the Jew” in late 18th-century London, the success of the first Jewish prizefighter paved the way for Jews to gain greater acceptance in all sectors of British society.
Laurence E. ‘Lon’ Myers, track and field
The first man to run the quarter-mile (440 yards) in under 50 seconds, Myers over a 21-year period, held every U.S. record for distances ranging 50 yards to one mile.
Dolph Schayes, basketball
Retiring in 1964 after playing a staggering 1,509 games – more than any other player in NBA history – Schayes also owned five NBA records, including most field goals and most free throws.
Mark Spitz, swimming
Generally acknowledged as the greatest swimmer of all time, Spitz’s collection of honors includes 32 world records from 1967-72; nine gold medals, one silver and one bronze in two Olympics.
Eva Szekely, swimming
Szekely competed in three Olympic Games, winning gold and silver, and smashing 10 world records, 5 Olympic records and 101 Hungarian national records along the way.
Dara Torres, swimming
The only U.S. swimmer to win medals (nine) at four different Olympic Games, Torres still holds the U.S. 100-meter butterfly record. She was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.
Henry Wittenberg, wrestling
Wittenberg only started wresting in college, but recorded a winning streak of 300 consecutive matches, culminating in a gold medal at the 1948 London Olympics.

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