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!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • 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.