1997 Maccabiah Games

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15th Maccabiah
1997 Maccabiah logo.jpg
Nations participating 33
Debuting countries  Kyrgyzstan
Athletes participating 5,500
Events 34
Opening city Ramat Gan
Officially opened by Kerri Strug
Main venue National Stadium
14th Maccabiah 16th Maccabiah  >

The 1997 Maccabiah Games are remembered for being marred by a bridge collapse that killed several participants.

The 15th Maccabiah had more than 5,000 athletes from 33 countries competing in 36 sports.

New sports for the Games included beach volleyball, ice hockey, and taekwondo.

The Games were marred by the collapse of the bridge, causing some athletes on the bridge who were marching into the Ramat Gan Stadium in Tel Aviv for the Opening Ceremony to fall into the highly polluted Yarkon River; the polluted waters were considered a major factor in the deaths and injuries.[1] Four Australians, Greg Small, Elizabeth Sawicki, Yetty Bennett, and Warren Zines, were killed when the bridge, supporting the Australian delegation, collapsed. Sixty others were injured.

After the accident, both the Opening Ceremony and the Games themselves continued with spectators in the stadium not given any information as to what had happened. The ceremony was delayed, and then only the torch lighting aspect of the ceremony took place. Spectators became aware that something was wrong when none of the scheduled events took place, including the march of the athletes, and when they listened to the radio. Many inquests were completed into the collapse of the bridge by both Israeli and Australian authorities and Yoram Eyal was convicted has his culpability in the incident.[2] To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the disaster, on July 20, 2007, a ceremony was held at Tel Aviv's Hayarkon Park.[1]

Michael Halika of Israel who won the 800m Freestyle and the 400m Individual Medley, among a total of 5 individual and 2 team gold medals.

1992 Olympian Tamara Levinson earned 5 golds in rhythmic gymnastics.

Participating Communities[edit]

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

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Bridge Disaster Commemorated", Dateline World jewry, World Jewish Congress, September, 2007
  2. ^ Ha'aretz 29 June 2005 Maccabiah official convicted over bridge disaster accedes to Australian demand By Charlotte Halle