Anthony Ervin celebrates winning gold in the Men's 50m Freestyle Final at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. (Photo/File)
Anthony Ervin celebrates winning gold in the Men's 50m Freestyle Final at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. (Photo/File)

Bay Area swimming star among 10,000 athletes headed to ‘Jewish Olympics’

A record 10,000 athletes will be competing at the 20th Maccabiah Games, the so-called Jewish Olympics.

Some 30,000 people are expected to attend the opening ceremonies Thursday, July 6 at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem, which will be nationally televised on Israel’s Channel 2 and live-streamed starting at 10 a.m. PDT. It is the third largest sporting event in the world, according to organizers.

The athletes in the 43 sports at this year’s games come from 80 countries. Israel and the United States have the largest delegations; the latter will have more than 1,000 athletes, according to Maccabi USA.

Among them will be U.C. Berkeley alumnus Anthony Ervin, 36, who won the gold medal in the 50-meter freestyle last summer at the Rio Olympics 16 years after doing so for the first time in Sydney. Ervin, the son of an African American father and Jewish mother, is scheduled to help light the torch during the opening night ceremonies.

In addition to the dozens of events taking place in the host city of Jerusalem, competitions will be held at 68 venues throughout the country.

Many international Jewish sports stars have launched their careers at the Maccabiah, and often return to play or coach at the games.

Soccer is the largest sport at the games, with more than 1,400 athletes from 20 countries participating. The competition categories are youth, open, masters and Paralympics.

JTA

Content distributed by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency news service.