• Meyer Grunberg

Gal Fridman wins Israel's First Olympic Gold Medal, 2004

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

On This Day in Jewish History: August 25th, 2004

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#onthisday, 2004, Gal Fridman wins Israel's first (and only) gold medal in the olympics for windsurfing in the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics.

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Gal had previously won bronze in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and numerous medals in international windsurfing competitions. He was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.

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Born in Karkur, Israel to an Ashkenazi Jewish family, Gal grew up close to the Mediterranean Sea near Sdot Yam, where he spent a significant amount of time.

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His father introduced him to windsurfing at the age of 7 and was racing by the time he was 11. Following his IDF service, Gal went all in on adult competitions.

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By 2003, he had won multiple championships in Eilat, Thailand and was ranked #1 in the International Sailing Federation.

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After winning gold in 2004, Fridman came up short of qualifying for the 2008 Bejing games due to equipment failures in regattas leading up to the competition.

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Since 2008, Fridman has been retired from windsurfing himself and has devoted more time to coaching future Israeli Windsurfers, guiding Nimrod Mashiah to a Silver Medla in the 2009 World Championships.

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Gal also owns a Stand-Up-Paddle-Board company and gives motivational speeches around the globe.

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Text Source: https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/gal-fridman

Image Source: Associated Press


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