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Israel Goes to the Olympics for the First Time!

On July 19, 1952, Israel participated in the Summer Olympics for the first time in Helsinki, Finland!


Dofri, Israeli Olympic Basketball team 1952, CC BY-SA 4.0

In July 1952, Israel went to the Olympics for the first time. The Olympics that year were held in Helsinki, Finland. This was the Olympic debut for many countries, including Russia and China. Israel came representing the Jewish homeland for the first time in history!


In 1972, tragedy struck at the Munich Summer Olympics. Nine Israeli athletes were taken hostage, and ultimately all of them were murdered by Palestinian terrorists at these games.

Since 1952, Israel has sent a team to the Olympics every year, except for 1980. In 1980 there was an American-led boycott of the Moscow Olympics.


Only 40 years after that first Olympics, in 1992, did Israel win a medal at all. Yael Arad won a silver medal in judo.


Now, Israel has nine Olympic medals. One gold, one silver, and seven bronze. Israel's one and the only gold medal was won by Gal Friedman (whose name ironically means wave). His gold medal was won in windsurfing in 2004!

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