Lenny Krayzelburg and Jason Lezak Join USA Contingent for Maccabiah Games

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Rick Ehrlich, Team USA Swim Chairman for the 20th World Maccabiah Games, is proud to announce that Olympic gold medalists and Maccabiah Alumni Lenny Krayzelburg and Jason Lezak will join Team USA for the 20th World Maccabiah Games as Maccabi Ambassadors. Both will be jumping into the pool for two exhibition relays during the Finals of the Swimming Competition.

“I am looking forward to having Lenny and Jason join us in Israel as Maccabiah Ambassadors.  Their presence will be an inspiration to our swimmers and all of our athletes,” Ehrlich said.

Krayzelburg won four gold medals at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games, and in 2001 he skipped the World Championships in order to compete in the 16th World Maccabiah Games where he won two gold medals. Although he was at the top of his career, the choice was simple for him – he wanted to take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete at the Maccabiah and lead the USA delegation at the Opening Ceremony.

“I am and excited to be going back to Israel and taking part in 20th World Maccabiah Games. Being in Israel and having an opportunity to participate in this incredible event celebrating Jewish culture and values with athletes from around the world is special and I am honored to be part of it,” Krayzelburg said.

Lezak has won four gold, one silver and two bronze medals at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games and four gold medals at the 2009 World Maccabiah Games. He became famous in 2008, at the Beijing Olympics, when as the oldest member of the USA Swim Team, he anchored the 400 relay team with a split of 46.06, the fastest freestyle split in history at the time. Like Krayzelburg, Lezak also skipped the World Championships in 2009 in order to compete at the Maccabiah Games.

“I am excited to go back to Israel for the Maccabiah Games as an Ambassador to help other athletes maximize their performance and their experience,” Lezak said.

The 20th World Maccabiah Games are the world’s third largest international sporting event and will consist of over 9,000 athletes from 75 countries participating in 42 different sports. To learn more about the sports and age divisions offered, please visit our website.

The Maccabiah Games is more than an international sporting competition; it is a celebration of Jewish culture, unity and pride. ISRAEL CONNECT, Maccabi USA’s unique cultural and educational program takes place for seven days prior to the start of the Games. All Juniors, Youth, Open and Paralympic athletes participate in the program where they have the opportunity to tour historical and religious sites, take part in cultural identity seminars and train with their teams, all while developing lifelong relationships. 

About the organization:

Maccabi USA (MUSA) is a federally-recognized not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization with an extensive history of enriching Jewish lives through athletic, cultural and educational programs.  The Organization is the official sponsor of the United States Team to the World Maccabiah Games, and the Pan American and European Maccabi Games, as well as a sponsor of the JCC Maccabi Games for teens in North America.  As the official Maccabi representative in the U.S., Maccabi USA supports Jewish athletic endeavors, enhanced by cultural and educational activities in the United States, Israel and throughout the Diaspora.

MUSA develops, promotes and supports international, national and regional athletic-based activities and facilities.  It strives to provide Jewish athletes the world over the opportunity to share their heritage and customs in competitive athletic settings.  MUSA supports programs that embody the Maccabi ideals of Jewish Continuity, Zionism and Excellence in Sport.  Maccabi USA Builds Jewish Pride Through Sports.

Maccabi USA is a U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) Multi-Sport Organization (MSO). The Organization is one of 38 MSOs nationwide to be recognized by the USOC for its ability to cultivate a national interest in sport and increase opportunities for participation internationally, nationally and at the grassroots level.

Press release courtesy of Maccabi USA.

3 Comments

3 comments

  1. Byron Shefchik

    In all seriousness, it would be cool if more religions did this. What a great opportunity for bonding.

Author: David Rieder

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David Rieder is a staff writer for Swimming World. He has contributed to the magazine and website since 2009, and he has covered the NCAA Championships, U.S. Nationals, Olympic Trials as well as the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. He is a native of Charleston, S.C., and a 2016 graduate of Duke University.

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