Lights in the Distance

Observations and musings regarding new mommyhood and life in general.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

From Karkur to...

Well, it's official. Israeli windsurfer Gal Friedman has won Israel's first Olympic gold medal ever. The folks over at Israel's channel 1 were beside themselves with joy as they kept rerunning the clip from the race's final moments, interspersed with interviews with the winner himself, as well as his coach, who apparently gave up his job as an engineer at Motorola in order to coach Gal on a full-time basis. It's all very exciting, and of course, it's always nice to see Israel shown in a positive light for a change.

What makes it even more interesting for me is that Mr Friedman (or at least his family) lives in the same town that I do - Karkur. While admittedly, I don't know the Friedmans, but I can't help but take neighborly pride in his accomplishment.

My husband asked me several days ago if I cheered for the Americans as I cheered for the Israelis, and if it made me just as happy to see the Americans win medals. At the time, I said yes, but qualified my response by pointing out that seeing Americans win medals was a more frequent occurence than seeing Israelis with medals. Having just watched the medals ceremony, seeing the Israeli flag being raised as Hatikvah was played, I can honestly say that I don't ever remember becoming emotional (just a few tears, I swear!) hearing the American anthem. Call me hokey, but today, I'm proud to be an Israeli. (Maybe slightly less proud when watching all the Israelis in the stands swarm around Gal at the end of Hatikvah, turning what was supposed to be a dignified ceremony into a free-for-all...)

On another Olympic note, who is telling the channel 1 reporters how to pronounce the athletes' names? Watching the womens' diving earlier today, I was appalled to hear the reporter refer to the South African diver as Yenna (on the screen it said Jenna), and even more distressing, the English diver Jane Smith became Yanneh Smith. My husband tried to defend him, mentioning the difficulty of some of the names, but even he had to concede that "Yanneh" was stretching things a bit far.

Oh well, time to watch the Prime Minister congratulate Israel's latest national (and my local) hero over the phone, and Israel's Education Minister Limor Livnat fall all over herself in her latest photo op, as she proudly tells Gur Steinberg, Gal Fridman's coach, that Motorola will roll out the red carpet for him to return. Too bad she can't arrange that for all Israelis who have lost their jobs.
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