Let’s be honest, the Summer Olympics suck. Take away Phelps and Bolt and there is literally no reason to watch them.
Sorry, but I’m from Canada, it’s all about the hockey and curling and snowboarding and skeleton and more hockey. #sorrynotsorry
But being a fan of the Winter Olympics (and winter, really) is a bit tough when you move to the Middle East. Thankfully hockey is budding in Israel, but it’s going to take a while until we’re seeing the Israeli National Hockey Team representing the country at the games. When you’re from a country in the Middle East, you generally don’t have many winter Olympians.
Until now! No, seriously.
There is a brand new Indiegogo campaign that was set up by AJ Edelman, the man trying to become Israel’s first Olympian to compete in the Skeleton. No, seriously.
If you’re not familiar with the sport, Skeleton is better known as insanity luge. Instead of lying on your back and barreling down an ice pipeline at crazy speeds, you do it head first. Pretty much there needs to be something a bit off with you if you’re willing to do that. And if you’re attempting to be the first Israeli to compete in Skeleton, you’ve got to be a little nuts… in a good way.
Crazy or not, Edelman is up to the challenge. A lifetime athlete, Edelman is a former bodybuilding competitor and goaltender for the MIT hockey team – and he did all that while being a religious Jew. He’s proud of his religion and his heritage and, according to his Indiegogo campaign, would not compete in Skeleton unless he had a Star of David on his chest.
The plan isn’t just to fund his upcoming racing seasons leading up to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, but also get Israelis into sports that are outside of the Middle Eastern comfort zone. He wants to prove that Jews (even religious ones!) can compete on the world stage in sports beyond soccer and basketball. We can be hockey players and football players and even skeleton competitors.
I’ll tell you one thing – this is really exciting for me. Nothing (and I mean NOTHING) would make me happier than cheering on an Israeli in the skeleton competition in 2018. I’m Canadian, I know my hometown athletes are going to win some medals, but for a guy in the blue and white and an Israeli flag on his back to compete against the best in the world in a sport I love? That’s priceless.
Back in 2014 in Sochi, Israel was represented by 5 athletes. FIVE. I know this is the desert, but come on, we can do better than that!
That’s why we need people like AJ Edelman. Is he a lock to win the gold? Who knows? But he’s pushing for it with all he can – and asking for the world’s help to get him there. There is no doubt in my mind that by the time 2018 comes along, we’re going to be hearing about a lot more Israelis looking to compete in Winter Olympics events.
Also, it’s like Cool Runnings in real life, which is awesome.
So have a look at AJ’s Indiegogo page and go ahead and donate. He’s only asking for $5,000 but needs $40,000 per season of competitive skeleton of which there are 3 more leading up to the Olympics.
Don’t just donate for the signed pictures or cool perks. Don’t just donate because Edelman seems like a cool guy. Donate because of what he’s trying to accomplish – to represent Israel and inspire more Jewish people and Israelis to step outside their normal sports comfort zone and compete to be the best.
Check out AJ’s Skeleton Indiegogo Campaign here – https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/israel-skeleton-the-winter-olympic-dream#/story
Learn more about his story and skeleton in Israel here – http://www.israelskeleton.com/
As always follow me on twitter @adavis_29 and let me know about more amazing Israeli athletes.