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Israel’ s Sole Olympic Gold Winner to Auction Off Medal Posted by on Nov 26, 2018 in Today's Israel

Last month, the windsurfer Gal Fridman, Israel’ s sole Olympic gold winner, published an ad on his Facebook page:

Image via Pixabay

“מחפש תותח אי ביי שמבין במכירה פומבית של פריט נדיר היחיד מסוגו בארץ”

“Looking for an Ebay expert who understands how to auction a rare item, one of its kind in Israel”

Fridman won a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, and a gold medal in the Athens 2004 Olympics. He retired (פָּרַשׁ) from professional surfing at the age of 33 and became a trainer (מְאַמֵּן). Last year, when he turned 41, he began a new occupation (מִקְצוֹעַ, עִסּוּק) as a photographer. Today, Fridman, a father of three, admitted he needs the money and is looking for the right way to sell his gold medal and Olympic surfboard.

His short ad has drawn fire (מָשְׁכָה אֵשׁ) from the media. One news website titled this item by the word shock. People were dismayed by the sale of what feels to them as a symbol of national pride (גַּאֲוָה לְאֻמִּית). Many commenters tried to convince Fridman to reconsider selling. The most acute one was the Head of the Israeli Olympic Committee, who said:

“מכירת מדליה אולימפית היא מעשה שאין עושים”

“A sale of an Olympic Medal is something you don’t do”

One of the Facebook responses accused Fridman of being a bad example (מְהָוֶוה דֻּגְמָה רָעָה) to the younger generation. Fridman, the only Israeli athlete (אַתְלֶט) to win two Olympic medals, answers that the younger generation should focus on acquiring a profession (לֽרְכּוֺשׁ מִקְצוֹעַ), and sports should be only a second priority.

Unfortunately, Fridman is not the first Israeli athlete who finds it hard to make a living out of sport. Apparently sporting achievements and records don’t guarantee the sportsmen (סְפּוֹרְטַאֽים) with financial stability (יַצִּיבוּת כַּלְכָּלִית). Michael Kalganov, for example, the first Israeli to win the world kayak championship in 1998, won a bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Fifteen years later, Kalganov and his family left for Germany after been offered low wages (שָׂכָר) as a trainer. He wasn’t the only one. Konstantin Matusevich, the Israeli record holder for the high jump, moved to Canada the same year to earn a decent living from his skills.

Fridman, eventually, succumbed to the pressure, and said he would postpone the medal selling for now. But Israeli sportsmen are still struggling with low funding (מִמּוּן) and lack of opportunities.

 

Text vocabulary

Auction = מְכִירָה פֻּמְבִּית

Athlete = אַתְלֶט

Sportsman = סְפּוֹרְטַאי

Trainer = מְאַמֵּן

Occupation = מִקְצוֹעַ, עִסּוּק

To acquire profession = לֽרְכּוֺשׁ מִקְצוֹעַ

To retire = לׅפְרוֺשׁ

Retired = פָּרַשׁ

To draw fire = לֽמְשׁוֺךְ אֵשׁ

To be a bad example = לְהָווֺת דֻּגְמָה רָעָה

National pride = גַּאֲוָה לְאֻמִּית

Olympic Medal =  מֶדַלְיָה אוֹלִימְפִּית

Financial stability = יַצִּיבוּת כַּלְכָּלִית

Wage = שָׂכָר, מַשְׂכֹּרֶת

Funding = מִמּוּן

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