Dashing an Olympic Hopeful’s Dreams

By Devra Ferst

Published February 03, 2010, issue of February 12, 2010.
  • Print
  • Share Share

This year, Israel achieved a tremendous athletic feat: One of its athletes, 20-year-old Tamar Katz, became the first Israeli to qualify for the women’s figure skating competition in the Olympics.

Tamar Katz
Getty Images
Tamar Katz

But Katz — a three-time national champion in Israel — won’t compete this February at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

While she does meet the requirements for competition as dictated by the International Skating Union — the governing body that decides which skaters are eligible for the games — she doesn’t meet Israel’s more stringent requirements. Israel requires skaters to finish in the top 14 at the European Championship to participate in the games. Katz finished 21st, after having been off the ice for two weeks with a viral infection. “Of course I’m devastated. This has been my dream,” Katz told the Forward.

The stricter standards were imposed with the aim of sending only potential medal winners to compete at the Olympics. Israel has never won a medal at the Winter Olympics, which it began competing at in Lillehammer, Norway, in 1994. This year, it will send three athletes: an ice dance pair and a slalom skier.

Katz fought the rule by starting a Facebook group that at the beginning of February had 1,500 members and gained the support of former Olympians Tara Lipinski, Nancy Kerrigan and Timothy Goebel. Unfortunately, the decision is final, and Australian skater Cheltzie Lee will fill the open slot.

In the meantime, Katz will practice, much as if she were headed to the Olympics. She’s currently training for the World Figure Skating Championships in Turin, Italy, where she will represent Israel at the end of March. “It’s the same skaters and same level” as the Olympics, she said. “I want to skate well there and prove them wrong.”

And will she shoot to skate in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia? “I can’t say for four years from now,” Katz said. “But I’m not ruling anything out.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.