Skater Max Aaron Looks to Aly Raisman for Inspiration on Path to Jewish Gold

Aiming for Olympic Glory in Sochi Winter Games

Going for Gold: Max Aaron celebrates winning the national Figure Skating Championships. Now the Jewish athlete moves on to the world competition and hopefully the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
getty images
Going for Gold: Max Aaron celebrates winning the national Figure Skating Championships. Now the Jewish athlete moves on to the world competition and hopefully the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

By JTA

Published February 19, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

With consecutive quadruple jumps at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Max Aaron launched himself not only to a gold medal and a national championship. The 20-year-old Arizonan also joined the ranks of Jewish athletes who have made it big.

For Aaron, that was even more exciting than executing the perfect jumps last month in Omaha, Neb., which moved him from fourth to first in the standings.

“I grew up looking to all those Jewish athletes for inspiration,” Aaron told JTA. “I always thought the list needed to be longer. We needed to have a stronger representation of Jewish athletes, and I’m so happy that I’m part of them now.”

Next month, Aaron will represent the United States at the World Figure Skating Championships in Canada. Finishing 13th or better puts him on the U.S. Olympic team for the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia.

While the thought of facing some of the world’s top figure skaters might seem intimidating, Aaron is confident he’ll be prepared. After all, he’s been preparing for the competition since he was 3.

“This is a really difficult sport because you’re literally using every inch of your body,” he said. “I’m a little nervous to see who I’m facing, but we all put our pants and skates on the same way, and I’m focusing on training the hardest I can. And when I get nervous, I’ll just pray.”

Aaron’s training – and perhaps his praying – certainly paid off in Omaha. Bringing some attitude to the ice, he emptied his vault of tricks to songs from “West Side Story,” snapping his fingers and making faces to the music. His twirls had the audience and judges roaring, and his final score of 225 points was enough to send three-time U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott to third place.

Aaron, who was raised in a traditionally Conservative Jewish home in Scottsdale, Ariz., spends numerous hours a day on the ice. As a boy his main passion was hockey; Aaron laced up his figure skates on the weekends. He would go on to join multiple hockey leagues, competing in the USA Hockey nationals in 2006 and 2007.

But after suffering a back injury four years ago that nearly ended his career, Aaron realized he couldn’t juggle two sports, and he decided to focus on figure skating. He went from placing 13th at the nationals in 2007 to eighth place in the Midwestern sectionals in 2008, to earning high marks in 2011 and 2012, and this year taking the national title.


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!
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • Pierre Dulaine wants to do in his hometown of Jaffa what he did for kids in Manhattan: teach them to dance.
  • "The first time I met Mick Jagger, I said, 'Those are the tackiest shoes I’ve ever seen.'” Jewish music journalist Lisa Robinson remembers the glory days of rock in her new book, "There Goes Gravity."
  • 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.