1981 Maccabiah Games

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11th Maccabiah
1981 Maccabiah logo.jpg
Nations participating34
Debuting countries Bermuda
 Puerto Rico
 New Zealand
Athletes participating3450
Opening cityRamat Gan
Opening ceremonyTorch lit by Tal Brody[1]
Main venueNational Stadium
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The 1981 11th Maccabiah Games brought 3,450 athletes to Israel from 30 nations.

The 30-sports menu included rugby union,[1] sailing and softball for the first time.

New facilities for squash, wrestling, karate, and judo were introduced.


The Maccabiah Games were first held in 1932.[2] In 1961, they were declared a "Regional Sports Event" by, and under the auspices and supervision of, the International Olympic Committee.[3][4][5]

Notable medalists[edit]

Israeli high jumping champion Gideon Harmat at the Games.

Mitch Gaylord, gymnastics, won 6 gold medals; he later went on to win Olympic gold.

Also, American tennis players Brad Gilbert (in doubles, with Jon Levine) and Andrea Leand earned gold medals,[6] and Shlomo Glickstein won the men's singles in tennis (defeating Brad Gilbert),[7] the first Israeli to win a Maccabiah tennis championship. In golf, American Corey Pavin won two gold medals.[8][9][10][11]

Mark Berger, who three years later was to go on to win a silver medal in the Olympics, won a gold medal in judo. David Blatt and Danny Schayes won a gold medal with Team USA in basketball.[12] American fencers Paul Friedberg won a gold medal for the US in saber, Peter Schifrin won a silver medal in epee, and Elaine Cheris won an individual silver medal and a team gold medal in foil. British sabre fencer Paul Klenerman, who three years later fenced in the Olympics, also medaled.[13][14]

In track and field, James Espir of Great Britain, who earlier that year had run a mile in 3 minutes 56.7 seconds, thereby becoming the fastest Jewish miler ever, won the 1500 metres and 5000 metres gold medals on successive days. At the Games, Maya Kalle-Bentzur of Israel won the gold medal in the women's long jump.[15]

Participating communities[edit]

The number in parentheses indicates the number of participants that community contributed.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Bath, Richard (ed.) The Complete Book of Rugby (Seven Oaks Ltd, 1997 ISBN 1-86200-013-1), p.68
  2. ^ A brief history of the Maccabiah Games
  3. ^ Helen Jefferson Lenskyj (2012). Gender Politics and the Olympic Industry. Palgrave Macmillan.
  4. ^ Mitchell G. Bard and Moshe Schwartz (2005). 1001 Facts Everyone Should Know about Israel p. 84.
  5. ^ "History of the Maccabiah Games". Maccabi Australia.
  6. ^ Maccabi USA: History
  7. ^ "U.S. Five Captures Maccabiah Crown" - The New York Times
  8. ^ Bard, Mitchell Geoffrey; Schwartz, Moshe (2005). One thousand one facts everyone should know about Israel. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
  9. ^ Goldberg, Dan (March 11, 2011). "'Time to move on'". Haaretz. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
  10. ^ Romine, Rich (February 23, 1982). "Pavin Invited to Masters". The Press-Courier. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
  11. ^ Kessel, Yoram (June 29, 1989). "Argentine Golfers Sign Up At The Eleventh Hour". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
  12. ^ "Danny Schayes Appointed As A Member of the Basketball Staff For The 2018 International Maccabi Youth Games" – Maccabi USA
  13. ^ Jewish Post 29 August 1984
  14. ^ Jewish Life
  15. ^ "Track and Field Results Maccabiah Games at Tel Aviv, July 13". UPI.