This list of Jewish athletes in sports contains athletes who are Jewish and have attained outstanding achievements in sports. The topic of Jewish participation in sports is discussed extensively in academic and popular literature (See also: List of Jews in sports (non-players)). Scholars believe that sports have been a historical avenue for Jewish people to overcome obstacles toward their participation in secular society, especially before the mid-20th century in Europe and the United States.
The criteria for inclusion in this list are:
Boldface denotes a current competitor.
To be included in the list, one does not necessarily have to practice Judaism, or to hail from Israel. Some members of the list may practice other religions or no religion at all, but are of Jewish descent.
Ágnes Keleti is a Hungarian-Israeli retired Olympic and world champion artistic gymnast and coach. She is the oldest living Olympic champion and medalist, reaching her 100th birthday on 9 January 2021. While representing Hungary at the Summer Olympics, she won 10 Olympic medals including five gold medals, three silver medals, and two bronze medals, and is considered to be one of the most successful Jewish Olympic athletes of all time. Keleti holds more Olympic medals than any other individual with Israeli citizenship, and more Olympic medals than any other Jew, except Mark Spitz. She was the most successful athlete at the 1956 Summer Olympics. In 1957, Keleti immigrated to Israel, where she lived before returning to Hungary in 2015.
Attila Petschauer was a Hungarian Olympic champion sabre fencer of Jewish heritage.
Sport in Israel plays an important role in Israeli culture and is supported by the Ministry of Culture and Sport. The most popular sports in Israel have traditionally been Association football (mainly) and basketball (secondly) - with the first being considered the national sport - in both of which Israeli professional teams have been competitive internationally. Israel is an international center for Jewish sport around the world and since 1932 the Maccabiah Games, an Olympic-style event for Jewish athletes, is held in the country. Despite Israel's location in the Asian continent, the Israeli sports associations in various sports belong to the European associations due to the refusal of many Arab Asian countries to compete with Israeli athletes.
Albert "Albie" Axelrod was an American foil fencer.
The 17th Maccabiah Games, held in Israel, were an incarnation of the 'Jewish Olympics.' They attracted the largest attendance of any Maccabiah Games, including more than 900 representatives from the United States, almost 500 from Australia, and more than 2,000 from Israel, bringing the total participants to more than 7,700 from 55 countries.
The 6th Maccabiah Games were held in Tel Aviv, Israel in 1961, with 1,100 athletes from 27 countries competing in 18 sports. The Games were officially opened in an Opening Ceremony on August 29, 1961, in Ramat Gan Stadium by Israeli President Yitzhak Ben-Zvi before a crowd of 30,000. The closing ceremony took place on September 5, 1961, at the stadium before a crowd of 40,000, with Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion telling the crowd that he hoped that in the future athletes from North Africa, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union would also compete. The United States won 58 gold medals, Israel won 28 gold medals, and South Africa was third with 11 gold medals. American sportscaster Mel Allen narrated a film about the 1961 Games.
At the 10th Maccabiah Games in Israel, more than 2,800 athletes from 34 countries participated in 26 different sports, including chess and bridge.
The 7th Maccabiah Games in 1965 saw 1,500 athletes from 29 different countries compete in 21 sports. It was the first Maccabiah Games for Iran, Jamaica, Peru, and Venezuela. The United States delegation won the most gold medals, followed by Israel, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Mexico and the Netherlands, Southern Rhodesia, Australia, Argentina and Italy, and Brazil, Canada, Denmark, and Sweden with one each.
At the 8th Maccabiah Games from July 29 to August 7, 1969, 1,450 athletes from 27 countries competed in 22 sports in Israel. The final gold medal count was the United States in first place (64), Israel second, and Great Britain third (11).
Emília Rotter was a Hungarian pair skater.
The 15th Maccabiah Games are remembered for being marred by a bridge collapse that killed several participants.
The 9th Maccabiah Games, which were held from July 9 to 19, 1973, were opened in Ramat Gan Stadium, Israel. Spain and Costa Rica made their debuts in the Games. A total of 1,800 athletes competed on behalf of 27 countries in 20 branches of sport, in 30 venues across Israel. The Games took place ten months after the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, where 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were slain during the Munich Massacre. The United States won 76 gold medals, and Israel was next with 60 gold medals.
The 13th Maccabiah Games brought 4,500 athletes to Israel from 45 nations.
The 18th Maccabiah Games, were held in July 2009. According to the organizing committee these were the largest games held yet. These Games were the world's fifth-largest sporting event, behind the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, World Police and Fire Games, and Universiade. On the 13 July, more than 6,000 Jewish athletes from all over the world joined Team Israel's 3,000 participants at the Ramat Gan Stadium in Tel Aviv District, Israel, for the opening ceremony. American swimmer Jason Lezak was given the honor of lighting the Maccabiah torch at the Opening Ceremony.
The 2017 Maccabiah Games, also referred to as the 20th Maccabiah Games, were the 20th edition of the Maccabiah Games. They took place from 4 to 17 July 2017, in Israel. The Maccabiah Games are open to Jewish athletes from around the world, and to all Israeli citizens regardless of their religion. A total of 10,000 athletes competed, a Maccabiah Games record, making the 2017 Maccabiah Games the third-largest sporting competition in the world. The athletes were from 85 countries, also a record. Countries represented for the first time included the Bahamas, Barbados, Cambodia, the Cayman Islands, Haiti, Malta, Morocco, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and Trinidad. The athletes competed in 45 sports.
randy grossman jewish football.
wayne milner jewish.