The opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games is on Friday, Feb. 9. Israel is sending a 10-member team to the Games, and I am aware of four American Jews and one Canadian Jew competing. Here is the run-down on Jewish Olympic athletes from the diaspora, along with an alternate American team member and a great skier with some Jewish ancestry.
Arielle Gold, 21, a snowboarder, is a native of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. She won a gold medal in 2012 in the halfpipe event at the FIS Junior World Championships (FIS is the French acronym for the International Ski Federation, the world’s governing body for winter sports). In 2013, at age 16, she won the gold medal in the adult FIS halfpipe world championships. She was on the 2014 Olympic team, but an injury stopped her from competing. Her brother, Taylor Gold, 24, also competed in the halfpipe on the 2014 U.S. Olympic team.
Jared Goldberg, 26, a skier, was born in Boston and raised in Utah. He had his bar mitzvah at a ski lodge. He was on the 2014 Olympic team, finishing 11th in the men’s combined and 19th in the men’s giant slalom. He’s been strong on the ski circuit during the last 18 months and is poised to be a high finisher, even if a medal is unlikely.
Emery Lehman, 21, a speedskater, was born in Chicago and raised in the suburb of Oak Park. He was a top high school ice hockey player and got into speedskating to improve his hockey game. A series of junior speedskating championships led to an Olympic team spot in 2014. He was the American high finisher at the 2014 Games (16th in the 5,000 meters). His mother, Marcia Lehman, is a senior development executive for the American Friends of the Hebrew University.
Evan Weinstock, 26, a member of the four-man bobsled team, was born and raised in Las Vegas. He was an outstanding high school football player and got into bobsledding through his participation in the decathlon. At Brown University, Weinstock set the school record in the decathlon and was a four-time Ivy League champion. Weinstock’s father is Jewish (his mother, who died recently, was not). Jewish Sports Review contacted Weinstock when he was at Brown. He said he was raised in no faith but had no problem with being identified as a Jewish athlete in the magazine.
Jason Brown, 23, a figure skater, was born in Los Angeles, grew up in a Chicago suburb and had a bar mitzvah. He won a team bronze medal in the 2014 Olympics and performed well enough in 2017-2018 to be named a team alternate.
Dylan Moscovitch, 33, is a Canadian figure skater born and raised in Toronto. He had a bar mitzvah and took a Birthright trip to Israel. He is a certified instructor of krav maga, a self-defense system used by the Israel Defense Forces. In 2014, he and his then-partner Kirsten Towers-Moore won the Olympic silver medal in the mixed-pairs figure skating event. That partnership ended in 2014, and he soon teamed up with top Russian skater Lubov Ilyushechkina. They met on Facebook and then he gave her a live tryout. They clicked immediately. To date, his competition results with his new partner are a little worse than those with his old partner. But they do have a medal chance.
Adam Rosen, 33, is a British-American luge athlete. He was born and raised in New Rochelle, NY, the son of an American father and a British mother and has dual citizenship. He lives in New York. He competed for the UK in 2006 and 2010 in the one-man luge event, finishing 16th both times. Injuries prevented him from competing in 2014. He’s named for his maternal British grandfather, a WWII Royal Navy combat veteran. His paternal grandfather was a rabbi and a US Air Force chaplain.
Special note: Mikaela Shiffrin, 22, an American alpine ski racer, is the reigning overall World Cup champion and the reigning Olympic and world champion in slalom. Her last name came from her paternal grandfather, who was her only Jewish grandparent. A few years ago, Jewish Sports Review magazine spoke to her brother, also a skier. He said that he and his sister were raised in no faith and don’t identify as Jewish.
Rice Krispies treats do the trick
On his late-night show, Seth Meyers recently pretended to explain new teen slang — all of it completely made up by his writers. One new slang term, Meyers said, is “menschwarmer,” defined as “the Jewish kid who should be cut from the team, but he’s just too good a guy.” Then Meyers used it in a sentence: “We were finally gonna tell Josh that he’s cut. But then that menschwarmer shows up at practice with Rice Krispies squares, and now the coach is letting him start.”