65: Game Changer

Israel Story


In israel to it was a dramatic year in january for the first time we establish diplomatic ties with china six months later in june. It's huckabee won. The elections in the labor party returned to power. In on july thirtieth. Nine days. After my ninth birthday. I together with basically everyone else in. Israel turned on the olympics on tv to watch what was till that moment of as a sport. It is thursday july thirtieth. The judo competition is about to get underway. Twenty nine women are entered in the one hundred thirty four and a half pound weight. Division after a couple of victories in the preliminary rounds yellow was about to step onto the mat for the women's semi-finals her opponent fraga imkye cough of germany. The reigning world champion like coffees the favorite of many to win the gold medal. The winner would not only advance to the finals but also guarantee herself at least silver medal. Now i should say that. I was watching because he was isreaeli. The sport itself meant nothing to me. I couldn't really figure out what the hell was going on. Or even who was ahead was already nigga. The lighters does stuff olczyk but when you come from a small place like israel. None of that matters any olympic appearances. Exciting we believe an beat bychkov play but there's a half and went onto the finals. She ended up losing the gold medal in crushing and somewhat controversial decision but nevertheless with her second place. Finish your ella became. The first is rarely ever to win an olympic medal. And i really s- crazing you come from a small country new. Have the chance to make an eastern. So it's crazy cola olympia celona hallamshire. Gesine covered la who llano game. The entire country was ecstatic. But there wasn't much time to celebrate. See the very next day. Another israeli judoka twenty two year old owen smadga from akeem made it to the bronze medal. Fight in the men's under seventy one kilo category. He was up against the mighty stefan dot from germany. Here's olen levin datta abortion away of a look that was the reigning european champion in the heavy favorite to win. But i remember stepping onto the mat. Now danny fear. I was there to win. He's up a lot diarrhea. Magoo george bush. Newt after thirty seconds. I managed to topple him. I raised my hands in the air. And i was an olympic medalist. It was a really sweet moment for me and further entire state of must've took notice lynn. Look it up and berlin's milley's smackdown after forty barren years. We had one our first. Two olympic medals in two miraculous days in both of them were in a sport. It's safe to say. Most israelis had never even heard about prior to that week. Those annoying political kakuei following you now. It wasn't a popular sport. I can tell you the till nine hundred ninety two. It was all about soccer and basketball coach. Foul was just an after school activity. Do shoe who today when they returned to israel yellen all were national heroes. Thousands of fans were waiting at the airport. They were immediately invited to meet the president and the prime minister for months there. Smiling faces were on the cover of every possible magazine in the following pool. Him of course they were the most popular costumes. Judo yell says became the hottest thing around from the minute came back edge. The became really something that everyone wanted to attach their and try. There was something incredibly relatable about them. According to moshe ponti over coach at the olympics a lot of the appeal was that owen were both one hundred percent local to homegrown saban the born in israel. This speaking they were anyone of us. Not so much untouchable olympians but rather regular people. The kind you'd bump into it the corner store or at the bank. i'm young yell from tel aviv. If i did it everyone can loot. Suddenly all the kids school signed up for judo classes. The new clubs popped up in every neighborhood. Become huge israel. Really huge moshe. Who is now the president of the israeli. Judo federation says the today. There are tens of thousands of israelis who practiced judo sixty seventy thousand and we know. And what was it before nine hundred ninety two which will say i think you know. Judo can israel. When i started when i was eight years other was one club in tel aviv. But since then have come a long way. Judo is now the third most popular sport in the country trailing only soccer and basketball and he some astronaut alighted. You know today. Judo is the leading olympic sport in israel frail than i told him i think that For these really metality virga sport because we are a warriors we grow up in this country. Warriors and the attitude to life is very much similar to to martial arts the impact however ended up being much broader than just. Judo did ninety two. It was the game changer. For these rally. Sports there was bare. That no one really believed that they were able to cross it and the once one of us to me but it's one of us made it proved the everything's possible and now every children every kid every boy girl that starts support a newsroom. He drives them

Coming up next