1969 Maccabiah Games

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8th Maccabiah
9th Maccabiah
10-km walk, on podium during 8th Maccabiah Games at Ramat Gan Stadium

At the 8th Maccabiah Games from July 29 to August 7, 1969, 1,450 athletes from 27 countries competed in 22 sports in Israel. The final gold medal count was the United States in first place (64), Israel second (48; though it won the greatest number of total medals), and Great Britain third (11).[3][4]

Germany and Greece sent teams for the first time since the 1935 Games. A new swimming pool was dedicated at Yad Eliyahu.


The Maccabiah Games are named in honor of the Jewish Maccabees, who in the 2nd century BC revolted against and defeated the superior armies of King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who was trying to abolish Judaism.[5][6]

The Maccabiah Games were first held in 1932.[7] In 1961, they were declared a "Regional Sports Event" by, and under the auspices and supervision of, the International Olympic Committee.[8][9][10]

Notable competitors

American swimmer Mark Spitz, 19 years old and holder of three world records, won 6 gold medals, including the 100 m freestyle, 200 m freestyle, 100 m butterfly, and the 200 m relay, in his second Maccabiah Games.[11][1] He was named outstanding athlete of the Games.[12] Mexican swimmer Roberto Strauss won a gold medal in freestyle.[13][14] Mexican Olympian Tamara Oynick won the 200 m breastroke.[1]

Tal Brody, having moved from the U.S. to Israel, captained the Israeli basketball team which also had Gabi Teichner playing for it, to a gold medal over the United States, which had on its team Ronald Green, Steve Kaplan, and Neal Walk.[15][16]

In track and field, Israeli Olympian

Esther Roth of Israel, a future Olympian, won the long jump with a 19-foot, 3/4 inch (5.81 meter) jump. Canadian Olympian Abby Hoffman won the women's 800 m run.[19]

In fencing, weeks after winning the US national foil championship, American Carl Borack won the Maccabiah sabre championship.[21][22] Canada's Olympian Peter Bakonyi won a silver medal.[23][24] Olympian Ralph Cooperman was a medalist for Great Britain in fencing.[25][26][27] American Albert Axelrod also competed in fencing at the Games.[28] In judo, Canadian future Olympian Terry Farnsworth won a gold medal in the light-heavyweight class, and Israeli future Olympian Yona Melnik won a gold medal.[29][30][31] Bernard Lepkofker competed for the United States in judo.[32]

In tennis, Julie Heldman, who was ranked # 2 in the US, won gold medals in the women's singles, the women's doubles with Marilyn Aschner (defeating South African silver medalists Esmé Emmanuel and P. Kriger), and the mixed doubles with Ed Rubinoff (defeating South African silver medalists Jack Saul, a Davis Cup player, and Esmé Emmanuel).[16][19][33][34] Aschner also competed in singles, where she was defeated in the quarterfinals by South African Esmé Emmanuel.[34][35] American Davis Cup player Allen Fox defeated South African Julian Krinsky in the men's individual semi-finals and South African Jack Saul in the finals to win a gold medal, and in doubles playing with partner Ronald Goldman they won the gold medal after they defeated Americans Tom Karp and Peter Fishbach in the semifinals, and then Americans Ed Rubinoff and Leonard Schloss in the finals.[34][16]

In table tennis,

Paulina Peisachov competed in women's singles for Israel, and Vicki Berner competed in women's singles for Canada.[35]

In soccer, Benny Rubinstein played for Israel, which won the gold medal. Raul Geller played for Peru, which came in 8th, and Dov Markus competed for the United States, which came in 14th.[32] 19-year-old U.S. amateur golf champion Bruce Fleisher, the US amateur golf champion, won gold medals in both individual and team golf.[35][36][37][3]

Participating communities

The number in parentheses indicates the number of participants that community contributed.

Medal count

The final gold medal count was 1) United States 63.5; 2) Israel 48 (though it won the greatest number of total medals); 3) Britain 10.5; 4) South Africa 8; 5) the Netherlands 6; 6) Austria, France, and Mexico 4; 9) Argentina, Italy, Canada, and Austria 3; and 13) Rhodesia 2.[16][4] Of nations that did not win gold medals, those with the most silver medals were: 1) Brazil 3; and 2) Belgium and Finland 1.[16] Sweden won 1.5 bronze medals, and Denmark and Switzerland won one bronze medal each.[16]


  1. ^ a b c "Spitz Wins Free-Style Swim As 8th Maccabiah Games Open". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Maccabiah Games End". The New York Times.
  3. ^ a b "Press-Courier". The Press-Courier.
  4. ^ a b "U. S., ISRAEL WIN 12 MEDALS EACH". July 11, 1973 – via NYTimes.com.
  5. ^ "1,500 Athletes Ready to Open Maccabiah Games Tomorrow". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "MACCABIAH GAMES OPEN AT TEL AVIV; Athletes From 26 Nations Parade at Ceremonies". The New York Times.
  7. ^ "A brief history of the Maccabiah Games". The Canadian Jewish News. June 19, 2017.
  8. .
  9. ^ Mitchell G. Bard and Moshe Schwartz (2005). 1001 Facts Everyone Should Know about Israel p. 84.
  10. ^ "History of the Maccabiah Games". Maccabi Australia.
  11. ^ "SPITZ CAPTURES TWO MORE TITLES; Takes Butterfly; Free-Style in Maccabiah Swimming". The New York Times.
  12. ISBN 978-0-8246-0381-6.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link
  13. .
  14. ^ "Cdinforma, Número 2606, 8 De Tamuz De 5773, México D.f. A". idoc.pub. 16 June 2013.
  15. ^ "U.S. Cage Team For Maccabiah". Jewish Post. April 25, 1969.
  16. ^ a b c d e f "U.S. FIVE IS UPSET BY ISRAEL, 74-70; Loss in Final Is First in Maccabiah Game History". The New York Times.
  17. . Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  18. . Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  19. ^ a b "Julie Heldman Wins Third Tennis Medal In Games in Israel". The New York Times.
  20. ^ a b "Sketches of Victims". The New York Times. September 6, 1972.
  21. ^ "Home". Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
  22. ^ Amdur, Neil (July 23, 2012). "For Fencing Veteran, Witnessing the Best and the Worst at the Olympics". London 2012.
  23. ^ "1969 Maccabiah Games Team Canada Delegation"
  24. ^ Leible Hershfield (1980). The Jewish Athlete; A Nostalgic View, p. 196.
  25. ^ "In Memoriam".
  26. ^ "Ralph Cooperman – A distinguished Jewish fencer 1927-2009". Esra Magazine.
  27. ^ "Eight Jewish Athletes at BEG". The Canadian Jewish Chronicle.
  28. ^ "1969 Maccabiah Games Borack, Micahnik, Axelrod". Museum Of American Fencing.
  29. ^ "Black Belt". Active Interest Media, Inc. 1 December 1969.
  30. ^ "Tourney results," Judo Illustrated, Volumes 4-5, 1970.
  31. ^ "The Eight Maccabiah Announces Judo Winners". Black Belt. Active Interest Media, Inc. 25 December 1969 – via Google Books.
  32. ^ a b c "United States Maccabiah Team in Israel"
  33. ^ "Jew of the Day - Julie Heldman".
  34. ^ a b c d e f "FOX GAINS FINAL AT TEL AVIV NET; Pam Richmond Also Victor in Maccabiah Games". The New York Times.
  35. ^ a b c "Miss Heldman Advances". The New York Times.
  36. ^ Churylo, Julie (May 23, 2012). "Champion Golf Pro Bruce Fleisher To Coach The USA Open Golf Team". Maccabi USA.
  37. ^ Lieberman, Randall P. (February 23, 2015). "Maccabi USA to honor 15 from South Florida at brunch in Boca Raton". Sun-Sentinel.
  38. ^ "8th Maccabiah Games". Maccabi Canada.

External links