Supp cover 7.24.09
Supp cover 7.24.09

Facts, figures for first Games in Bay Area

Once the parade of athletes draws to a close and the lighting of the torch is complete, the first JCC Maccabi Games in San Francisco’s history will officially commence.

From Aug. 2 to 7, more than 1,500 Jewish teens will descend upon San Francisco to participate in the 27th installment of the Games. Athletes from 40 U.S. communities as well as Great Britain, Guatemala, Israel and Mexico will compete in 14 different sports, ranging in everything from basketball to tennis and bowling to table tennis.

Off the field, athletes interact with each other through planned social events and Hang Time, an informal setting for participants to learn and experience Israeli culture.

With its mission “to encourage the health, physical fitness and well-being of Jewish youth,” the Maccabi Games welcome any eligible teen from ages 12 to 16 to partake, even those who are not competitive athletes. Through the JCC Maccabi ArtsFest and Star Reporter program, the games are truly all-encompassing.

Here are some Maccabi Games 2009 facts and figures, as provided by the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, host of this year’s games.

• The North American JCC Maccabi Games began in 1982 in Memphis, Tenn. Due to overwhelming interest, regional games were added in 1985 to augment the biennial continental games.

• The event’s official name is JCC Maccabi Games. It is often referred to as “the Games” in secondary occurrences.

• During the Games’ 27-year history, more than 125,000 athletes from around the world have participated in the JCC Maccabi Games.

• This summer more than 4,500 athletes will compete in three sites: San Francisco, San Antonio, Texas and Westchester County, N.Y.

• San Francisco is hosting the Games for the first time. The Jewish Community Center of San Francisco is the host organization.

• More than 1,500 Jewish teen athletes ages 12 to 16 will participate in the Games.

• Team San Francisco is made up of 267 Bay Area athletes.

• The 1,450 visiting athletes come from 40 U.S. communities and four foreign countries: Great Britain, Guatemala, Israel and Mexico.

• The largest visiting delegations are Houston (90 athletes), Atlanta, Ga. (75 athletes) and Boca Raton, Fla. (74 athletes).

• The smallest delegations are Savannah, Ga. (three athletes), Guatemala (five athletes) and Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C. (five athletes).

• About 500 local households will host visiting athletes for the week of Aug. 2 to 7.

• Hundreds of volunteers will help operate the Games. Organizers expect the final volunteer count for the week to top 900.

• The University of San Francisco serves as the Games hub. Many of the athletic events, as well as lunch service, will take place on the University of San Francisco  campus. It is also the transportation center to all other venues.

• In 2000, Hang Time was introduced. Hang Time provides an informal setting for athletes to get to know each other while learning about Israel, experiencing Israeli culture and creating Judaica. This year’s Hang Time theme is “Tel Aviv at 100,” honoring the city’s centennial.

• Local organizers are taking major steps to make the Games as “green” as possible.  Some examples are:

• Each athlete will receive a stainless steel water bottle; no plastic bottles will be used.

• All meal service will use compostable plates, cups and utensils.

• All venues will feature bins for compost, recycling and waste.