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!
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • 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.
  • 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.