Louisville athletes capture 16 medals at Maccabi Games
[by Rachel Lipkin, Middle School and Assistant Camp Director]
This year, the Louisville JCC sent nine athletes to the Maccabi Games in Austin, TX, from July 28-August 2: table tennis players Nathan Cohen and Alex Koby; tennis players Gabrielle Dubilier, Alex Dubilier and Becca Lustig; dancer Laina Meyerowitz; swimmer Maiya Gaston; and soccer players Allison Heffley and Hillary Reskin.
The games started off on Sunday with the opening ceremony, which was held at the Frank Erwin Center at the University of Texas. There were many special guests at the ceremony, including Olympic Gold Medalists Lenny Krazelburg and Aly Raisman. The ceremony also including a moment of silence for the Israeli athletes who were murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
On Monday, the athletic competitions began and all of the athletes had a great time competing in their sports. That night the athletes had a huge dance party at Club ATX, which is a giant nightclub with different rooms for different kinds of music. Louisville’s athletes enjoyed learning how to do country line dancing and singing along to karaoke.
Tuesday, the last day of regular competition before the medals rounds began, also marked the beginning of this year’s JCC Cares Project. Since 1982, the JCC Maccabi Games have always been more than an athletic competition. The JCC Cares program is an opportunity for participants to enhance their experience at the Games by taking a few hours away from competition to participate in a service project.
This year participants took part in the Anti-Defamation League’s World of Difference Institute, customized for the Austin JCC Maccabi Games. The program was designed to help participants recognize bias and the harm it inflicts on individuals and society; explore the value of diversity; improve intergroup relations; and combat racism, anti-Semitism and all forms of prejudice and bigotry. The athletes truly learned a lot from this program.
Tuesday night was spent with the athlete’s host families, with whom they had the opportunity to experience all there is to do in Austin.
Wednesday began the medal rounds and all of Louisville’s athletes played tremendously. That night they went to Austin’s Park, a giant venue that had mini golf, bumper boats, go-carts, batting cages, an arcade and laser tag.
Thursday marked the last day of the 2013 Austin JCC Maccabi games. That night the Austin JCC pulled out all the stops and put on a great closing party at their JCC. They had an Israeli shuk, the University of Texas cheerleaders, the University of Texas’ mascot, Bevo, an interactive arcade, a giant dance party and delicious food. It was a great last night in Austin.
The group had an amazing time while in Austin and won a total of 18 medals. Maiya Gaston brought home more medals than any other Louisville competitor, capturing 12 medals during the four days of competitions in the pool.
Nathan Cohen earned a gold medal in doubles table tennis, and Alex Koby received both a bronze medal in doubles table tennis and a bronze in single table tennis.
Laina Meyerowitz received a silver medal for her hip-hop routine and a bronze for choreography and Alex Dubilier took a silver medal in tennis.
Louisville didn’t have enough soccer players to field a team of our own, so Allison Heffley and Hillary Reskin played on a mixed team with Phoenix, San Francisco and Chicago, coached by former Louisville JCC Middle School Director David Siskin.
All of the athletes had a great time trading clothes and pins, competing, and meeting new people throughout the entire experience and cannot wait to attend next year’s games!