Yael Arad

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Yael Arad
Yael Arad in 2009
Yael Arad in 2009
Personal information
Born (1967-05-01) May 1, 1967 (age 54)
Tel Aviv, Israel
OccupationJudoka
Spouse(s)Lior Kahane (m. 1995)
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata
Sport
SportJudo
Weight classMiddle-weight
Rank     Black belt in Judo
Achievements and titles
World Champ.Silver (1993)
European Champ. Gold (1993)
Olympic GamesSilver (1992)
Profile at external databases
IJF53329
JudoInside.com2756
Updated on February 11, 2014.

Yael Arad (Hebrew: יעל ארד; born May 1, 1967) is an Israeli judoka. She was the first Israeli to win an Olympic medal.[2] She is widely recognized as one of Israel's most successful athletes and is credited with bringing judo into the athletic mainstream.

After her retirement, Arad developed a career as a businesswoman and CEO. She specializes in entrepreneurship, business development and marketing strategy. She manages the commercial rights of ViacomCBS in Israel. Arad advises companies in various sectors and lectures on excellence in sports, life and business.

Biography[edit]

Arad, who is Jewish,[3] was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, to Aryeh Arad, a journalist in Davar, Galei Tzahal & Kol Yisrael, and Nurit Arad, a journalist in Yedioth Ahronoth reporting in the field of consumerism. She holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Reichman University.

International judo career[edit]

Barcelona Olympic Medalists Oren Smadja and Yael Arad pose with the Deputy Education Minister, M.K. Micha Goldman.

Arad started taking judo classes at the age of eight and within half a year, ranked second in Israel in her weight class.[4] She later trained with the coach of the men's judo team.[5] She won her first international title in 1984 at the age of 17, competing as a middleweight.[5] She came in 7th in the 1984 World Judo Championships in Vienna.[6][7] She won bronze medals in the European Championships of 1989 and 1991.[8][9] To hone her skills, she underwent training in Japan.[5]

Arad was the first Israeli athlete to win an Olympic medal when she competed at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. She won the silver medal in the half middleweight competition.[10][11][12] She lost to Catherine Fleury of France. Arad dedicated the medal to the victims of the 1972 Munich Massacre.

In May 1993, she won a gold medal in the 1993 European championships.[13] In the world championships that year, she lost in the finals to Gella Vandecaveye of Belgium, taking home a silver medal.[14][15][16]

She was chosen to light the torch at the 1993 Maccabiah Games.[17] She finished in fifth place at the 1995 World Championships.[18][19]

At the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Arad lost to Jung Sung-Sook of Korea, competing for the bronze.[20][21][4] She went into the fight sick with a virus and ended up in fifth place.[22]

She served as judo coach for Israel in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and coached Israeli judoka Olympian Orit Bar-On.[23]

Olympic medal[edit]

After winning her Olympic medal, Arad wrote:

Thursday, July 30, 1992. A fateful day, a watershed day, a day of fame, a day of self-fulfillment. A day that required fifteen years of hard work, endless investment and hidden self-confidence. The day I won the Olympic silver medal. My medal. The first medal of the State of Israel. … I went onto the mat like a stormy wind, after a warm-up that drove from my body all the little demons that threatened to defeat me even before it all began. The first match was against a woman from Spain who had already defeated me twice in the past, but it was clear to me that this time she had no chance. I went off after four minutes, the winner. The second match was against a woman from the Czech Republic. We knew each other well and we both knew I was better. The victory over her contributed a bit more to building confidence for the tough and significant match of the day. Four minutes were all that stood between myself and my life’s dream. … When the match started, the semi-finals, I was there with all my battle gear. And suddenly, it was all over. I had won. … Emotionally it was the highest moment of my life and despite my losing later in the finals the victory in the semi-finals against the woman from Germany was the sweetest of all. That day I changed from a person who wanted to a person who could. And that made all the difference.[16]

Retirement[edit]

After retiring from the sport, Arad continued with judo as a coach and sports entrepreneur. Today she holds a key management position in a children's product company and serves as a TV commentator at judo competitions.

Olympic Movement

Since 2012, Arad is a member of the Marketing Commission[24] and the Digital & Technology Commission[25] at the International Olympic Committee. In 2013, she became a board member of the Olympic Committee of Israel and Chairwomen of its Sports Commission. In 2021, she was appointed to President of the Olympic Committee of Israel making her the first woman and first Olympic medalist to hold the position.[26]

Personal life[edit]

Arad was married to Lior Kahane (son of Israeli basketball coach Rani Kahane) and she has two children.

Her book[edit]

Arad's autobiography called First (Rishona in Hebrew) was released in 2018.[27]

Awards and honors[edit]

Arad has won 24 medals during her sporting career in Level A tournaments, including 7 gold medals, 8 silver medals and 9 bronze medals.

In 2004, Arad was chosen to be one of the torchbearers at the Torch-lighting Ceremony (Israel) on Mount Herzl.

In 2018, Arad was awarded the title to "The Athlete of 70'" from the Ministry of Culture and Sport (Israel), marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel.[28]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Yael Arad Olympic medals and stats". Databaseolympics.com. January 5, 1967. Archived from the original on August 15, 2011. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  2. ^ "Yael Arad – biography". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Paul Taylor (2004). Jews and the Olympic Games: The Clash Between Sport and Politics : with a Complete Review of Jewish Olympic Medallists. Sussex Academic Press. p. 223. ISBN 9781903900871. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Medal is lost, but mourning ends for Israel". Webcache.googleusercontent.com. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c Arfa, Orit. "Sporting heroes for 60 years". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  6. ^ "1984 World Championships". International Judo Federation. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  7. ^ "1984 World Championships". JudoInside.com. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  8. ^ "1989 European Championships". JudoInside.com. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  9. ^ "1991 European Championships". JudoInside.com. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  10. ^ "1992 Summer Olympics". International Judo Federation. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  11. ^ "1992 Summer Olympics". JudoInside.com. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  12. ^ "Israel Speakers Center, Yael Arad". Hamartzim.co.il. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  13. ^ "1993 European Championships". JudoInside.com. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  14. ^ "1993 World Championships". International Judo Federation. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  15. ^ "1993 World Championships". JudoInside.com. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  16. ^ a b "Sport: Yishuv to the Present". Webcache.googleusercontent.com. Archived from the original on November 25, 2010. Retrieved January 7, 2011.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  17. ^ "Maccabiah 18". Webcache.googleusercontent.com. Archived from the original on October 4, 2011. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  18. ^ "1995 World Championships". JudoInside.com. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  19. ^ "1995 World Championships". The-Sports.org. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  20. ^ "1996 Summer Olympics". International Judo Federation. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  21. ^ "1996 Summer Olympics". JudoInside.com. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  22. ^ "Yael and Oren are still heroes". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  23. ^ "JudoInside - Orit Bar-On Judoka". www.judoinside.com.
  24. ^ https://olympics.com/ioc/marketing-commission#tab-861a7419-401d-464f-bb6f-85ddf7477005-1
  25. ^ https://olympics.com/ioc/digital-and-technology-commission
  26. ^ Winer, Stuart (November 7, 2021). "First Israeli medalist Yael Arad to head Olympic Committee". The Times of Israel. Archived from the original on November 8, 2021.
  27. ^ https://www.ybook.co.il/book/7279/ראשונה
  28. ^ https://www.israelhayom.co.il/article/618505

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]