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!
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • 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.