2000 Summer Olympics

The 2000 Sydney Olympics, as far as its Jewish athletes are concerned, will be remembered not only for its medal winners (13 medals) but for the sizable number of athletes who will carry with them for years to come the memory of just missing, coming in fourth. As we indicated in issue #21's 1968-1988 Olympic medal review, verifying Eastern European and Russian Jews is an almost impossible task. We'll list those we have verified and leave the others for another day.

MEDAL WINNERS

Gold Medals:

LENNY KRAYZELBURG (US) Swimming (3)

ANTHONY ERVIN (M) (US)- Swimming

MARIA MAZINA (Russia) - Fencing

SERGEI CHARIKOV (Russia) - Fencing

Silver Medals:

ANTONY ERVIN (M) (US) - Swimming

SCOTT GOLDBLATT (US) - Swimming

JASON LEZAK (US) - Swimming

SARA WHELAN (US) - Soccer

YULIA RASKINA (Belarus) - Rhythmic Gymnastics

Bronze Medals:

MICHAEL KALGANOV (Israel) - Kayak

ROBERT DOVER (US) – Equestrian

The handsome LENNY KRAYZELBURG of Studio City, CA quickly stepped into the role of men's swimming's poster boy. The world record holder in the 100m and 200m Backs did not disappoint his legions of fans, interviewers and photographers. His first gold medal came with an Olympic record 53.72 in the 100m. "This is Mount Everest," Krayzelburg said. "It's great to know for the rest of your life you had this journey and it is completed. That is the most beautiful thing." Krayzelburg was up front about giving credit to his father for insisting he return to his training regimen after growing lax upon hls arrival in the US. His second gold, a 1:56.76 in the 200m was another Olympic record. When it was over, Krayzelburg's legs were wobbly and he rested on a mat for five minutes before being led to the medal ceremony. Following the ceremony, Krayzelburg tripped on a bench as he reached his immigrant parents in the stands, who each kissed him. His final words were "I can't say much more. I definitely don't realize what I accomplished." The gold kept coming when Krayzelburg swam the first leg (53.87) in the U.S. men's 400m Medley Relay with the U.S. men's 400m Medley Relay with the U.S setting a world record of 3:33.73. Sports Illustrated reports that Krayzelburg has been sieged with marriage proposals since return home from Sydney, but the heartthrob has his own ideas about a future mate: "A Russian Jewish woman would be ideal," said Krayzelburg. They're lining up at Brighton Beach.

ANTHONY ERVIN (M) of Valencia, CA., won his 50m Free heat in 22.24 and qualified for the semi-finals where he then placed #2 at 22.13 and qualified for the finals. In the finals Ervin would go up against the fasterst swimmers on the planet. Men like Alexander Popov of Russia, Piter van den Hoogenband of the Netherlands and Anthony's training partner and teammate at the Phoenix (AZ) Swim Club, Gary Hall Jr. Leaving the others behinds, Ervin and Hall sprinted to the finish, with Hall taking one breath and Ervin none, and both men touching the electronic timing device at the same time. The men seemed to delight in their shared gold medal. It was the third tie in Olympic swimming history. "I'd have to say when I started out this year I wasn't expecting anything remotely close to what I've accomplished," said the 19-year-old Ervin. "I don't even know what to think. I don't think there have been many people who have done so much in so little time."

MARIA MAZINA, 36, of Moscow, Russia, won a gold medal with the women's team epee. The World Maccabiah Union reports that Maria is an instuctor at Maccabi Moscow and recently visited Israel during Hannukah in a Maccabi program.

SERGEI CHARIKOV, 26, of Moscow, Russia, won a gold medal with the men's team sabre. Sergei is also a member of Maccabi Moscow and accompanied Maria on her recent trip to Israel.

The U.S. took a silver medal in the men's 400m Free Relay with ANTHONY ERVIN (M) of Valencia, CA., swimming the second leg (48.43) and JASON LEZAK of Irvine, CA., the third leg (48.46). The U.S. time was 3:13.86 forcing Autralia to set a world record to earn their gold. Another silver medal was won by the U.S. men's 800m Free Relay with SCOTT GOLDBLATT of Scotch Plains, NJ, swimming the first leg in 1:49.66 as the Aussies again came in first.

SARA WHELAN (M) of Greenlawn, NY, the national player of the year with UConn in 1998, earned a silver medal as the US women's soccer team lost to Norway, 3-2, in the gold medal round of women's soccer. The US World Cup champions had defeated Norway, 2-0, in a preliminary match.

YULIA RASKINA, 18, of Minsk, Belarus, took a silver medal in women's rhythmic gymnastics Individual All-Around. The young student is a member of Maccabi Minsk. In Team Dressage (four riders), ROBERT DOVER, the team cap tain from Flemington, NJ., and his US team took third place early in the competition and held on to earn a bronze medal behind Germany and the Netherlands.

MICHAEL KALGANOV (Isr) finished #2 in his heat of men's Flat Water K-1 500m (canoeing) in 1:40.27 and qualified for the semi-final where he finished #3 in 1:40.42 and qualified for the finals and, because of scheduling, became Israel's last chance at an Olympic medal on the final day of the Games. The Tashkent, Uzb., immigrant won a silver medal in this event at the 2000 European Championships and coming into the Olympics was thought to be Israel's best shot at earning a medal. With the pressure on and all of Israel watching, Kalganov finished third in 1:59.56, won the broze and helped Israel avoid taking the collar for Sydney. Also competing in the K-1 1000m, Kalganov won his heat in 3:35.48 and advanced to the finals where he finished #4 in 3:35.09, four hundredths of a second behind the bronze medal winner. Kalganov was not the only Jewish athlete to finish #4 in an event.

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Last Updated: November 14, 2000