Clockwise from left: Nick Itkin, Artem Dolgopyat, Lonah Chemtai Salpeter, Amit Elor, Sagi Muki, Jemima Montag, Claire Weinstein, Daniel Peretz. (Images via Getty; Design by Grace Yagel)
Clockwise from left: Nick Itkin, Artem Dolgopyat, Lonah Chemtai Salpeter, Amit Elor, Sagi Muki, Jemima Montag, Claire Weinstein, Daniel Peretz. (Images via Getty; Design by Grace Yagel)

Amit Elor, Jessica Fox and 12 other Jewish athletes to watch in the 2024 Paris Olympics

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(JTA) — There are veterans like an Australian gold medalist canoe paddler and Israel’s powerhouse judo team.

There are newcomers, like the youngest American female wrestler ever and Israel’s soccer team.

And there are athletes competing in events from fencing to beach volleyball to racewalking to air pistol shooting.

The 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris are around the corner, running from July 26 through Aug. 11, and dozens of Jewish athletes will be among the estimated 10,500 competitors representing roughly 200 countries in 329 events across 32 sports. The United States’ delegation features nearly 600 athletes, while Israel will have nearly 90 competitors, one of its biggest delegations ever.

Read on for a (nearly exhaustive) list of Jewish and Israeli athletes to watch as Paris 2024 approaches.

Is there a Jewish or Israeli Olympian we should keep an eye on? Shoot us a message at [email protected]!

Gymnast Artem Dolgopyat, Israel’s only active Olympic gold medalist

When it comes to floor exercise, the artistic gymnastics competition, few are as accomplished as Ukrainian-born Israeli Olympian Artem Dolgopyat. The 27-year-old has won gold medals in that event in recent years at the Olympics, the World Championships, the European Championships and the Maccabiah Games.

Dolgopyat was born in what is now Dnipro, Ukraine, and by the time his family moved to Israel when he was 12, he was already a two-time Ukrainian national champion for his age group. He trained at the acclaimed Maccabi Tel Aviv sports club in his adopted home and went on to become the Israeli national champion in the floor exercise.

At the Tokyo Olympics, Dolgopyat earned Israel’s second-ever gold medal, and first in gymnastics. (Fellow Israeli Linoy Ashram won gold in rhythmic gymnastics days later.)

Amit Elor, youngest female wrestler in U.S. Olympic history

Amit Elor, whose parents are Israeli, is making her Olympics debut with the U.S. wrestling team. She is the youngest female wrestler in history to represent the U.S. at the Games.

The 20-year-old Walnut Creek native is already a two-time world champion. Elor has also won gold medals at the 2023 Pan American Championships, the 2022 and 2023 U23 World Championships and at three consecutive Junior World Championships from 2021 through 2023.

Elor’s 2022 World Championship win, which came when she was 18, made her the youngest senior world champion in U.S. history. She currently ranks No. 1 in the U.S. in the 68-kilogram weight class, the group in which she will compete in Paris.

Canoe paddler Jessica Fox — and her younger sister, Noemi

Aussie Jessica Fox, who is regarded as the greatest individual paddler of all time, is back for her fourth Olympics, where she’ll look to build on her collection of medals — one gold, one silver and two bronze.

Fox, 30, won her Olympic gold in the canoe slalom in the Tokyo Games, becoming the first-ever woman to win gold in the event. Fox had been among the athletes pushing for the canoe slalom event to be opened to women, which happened in Tokyo.

Fox’s Jewish mother and coach, Myriam Jerusalmi, won bronze in the K-1 (single kayak) slalom competition for France at the 1996 Olympics. Her father, Richard Fox, paddled for Britain at the 1992 Olympics. Her younger sister Noemi, 27, is making her Olympics debut in the women’s kayak cross event, which is being held for the first time in Paris.

Nick Itkin and his fellow Jewish fencing stars

Fencing has quietly become a sport dominated by Jewish athletes in recent years, a trend led by Los Angeles native Nick Itkin, currently ranked as the No. 2 men’s foil fencer in the world. He was previously No. 1.

Itkin, 24, won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics to go along with a number of other recent medals and championships at major international fencing tournaments, as well as two NCAA titles. After winning a silver medal at the 2023 World Fencing Championships, Itkin became the first U.S. man, and third U.S. fencer overall, to win individual medals at back-to-back world championships.

Itkin is joined on the U.S. fencing team by Eli Dershwitz, the No. 3-ranked saber fencer in the world and a two-time Olympian who won gold at the 2023 World Championships in saber — becoming the first American man to do so. Dershwitz, 28, is the grandson of Holocaust survivors and a two-time Maccabiah Games gold medalist.

On the women’s side, Maia Weintraub, the No. 13-ranked woman foil fencer in the world, is a two-time U.S. national champion with several gold medals at fencing World Cups, the 2019 European Maccabi Games and in the NCAA. Weintraub, 21, was an alternate at the Tokyo Olympics.

And for Israel, Yuval Freilich, 29, who won a gold medal at the 2024 Epee Grand Prix event in Qatar, is the country’s first fencer to qualify for the Olympics since 2008.

Shooter Ada Korkhin, making her Olympics debut 

Brookline, Mass., native Ada Korkhin was first introduced to air pistol shooting by her Israeli father Yakov when she was 9 years old. A decade later, the 19-year-old is headed to Paris to represent the U.S. in the 25-meter pistol event.

Korkhin, a rising sophomore at Ohio State University, won a team gold medal in that event at the 2024 Championship of the Americas Games in Buenos Aires, and silver medals at the 2002 USA Shooting Pistol National Championships as well as the 2022 USA Shooting National Junior Olympic Championships.

After missing the cut at the Olympic trials for Tokyo, she finished second in USA Shooting’s Olympic three-part trials this spring. Khorkin celebrated her bat mitzvah at Temple Sinai in the Boston suburb in 2016.

Adam Mara’ana, an Israeli swimmer of Jewish and Arab descent

Adam Mara’ana is the first Arab Israeli to represent Israel in the Olympics since 1976, where he will compete in the 100-meter backstroke, an event in which he matched the Israeli record earlier this year. Mara’ana, 21, a Haifa native, is the son of a Jewish mother and an Arab Muslim father.

“My mother is Jewish, I served in the army, studied Torah, celebrated bar mitzvah, and my father is an Arab Muslim,” Mara’ana told the New York Post. “I’m very proud of it and he’s very proud of me.”

Two more Israeli swimmers to watch: Gal Cohen Groumi, who competed in the Tokyo Olympics and helped set an Israeli record in the 4 x 100-meter medley relay, and Matan Roditi. Groumi, 22, whose uncle was also an Israeli Olympic swimmer, has won gold medals at the 2024 European Championships, the 2022 Maccabiah Games and the 2018 European Junior Championships. Roditi, a marathon swimmer, placed fourth in the 2020 Olympics, the closest Israel has come to medaling in Olympic swimming. Roditi, 25, has set Israeli national records in numerous swimming events.

Jemima Montag, Australian racewalking record-holder

Australian racewalker Jemima Montag returns to the Olympics for the second time, where she will look to improve on her sixth-place finish in the women’s 20-kilometer racewalk event.

Montag, 26, is a two-time gold medalist at the Commonwealth Games and a silver medalist at the 2023 World Athletics Championships. She also holds Australia’s record in the 20-kilometer racewalk. Montag was named Australia’s Outstanding Jewish Junior Sportswoman of the Year in 2013 at age 15.

She is also a full-time medical student at Melbourne University.

Sagi Muki and Israel’s formidable national Judo team

Six of Israel’s 13 Olympic medals have come in judo, including the first-ever medals Israel won, at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. As Israel has grown into a judo powerhouse, Sagi Muki has become one of its brightest stars.

Muki, 32, is a world champion and two-time European champion, and he was part of the Israeli team that won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics. He has also won several judo grands prix and grand slams.

Two-time Olympic bronze medalist Or “Ori” Sasson retired in 2022, but several of Muki’s other teammates from the judo mixed team at the last Olympics will return in 2024: Tohar Butbul, Raz Hershko, Inbar Lanir, Timna Nelson-Levy, Peter Paltchik, Shira Rishony, Gili Sharir and Baruch Shmailov, plus newcomers Yam Wolczak, Gefen Primo and Maya Goshen. Paltchik, a former European champion, will serve as one of Israel’s flag bearers at the Opening Ceremony.

Romi Paritzki and Israel’s rhythmic gymnastics team

Expectations are high for Israel’s gymnasts, who in the past have earned two of Israel’s three Olympic gold medals. Romi Paritzki, 20, is the captain of Israel’s rhythmic gymnastics team, which is coming off its first-ever gold medals at the 2023 Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships. The team also won gold at the 2022 Rhythmic Gymnastics European Championships, hosted in Tel Aviv.

Paritzki is joined on the team by Ofir Shaham, 19, Diana Svertsov, 19, Adar Friedmann, 17, and Shani Bakanov, 18.

Another Israeli female gymnast to keep an eye on: Lihie Raz, 20, the 2019 Israeli national champion who won a bronze medal at the 2020 European Championships and competed in the Tokyo Olympics in artistic gymnastics.

Daniel Peretz and the Israeli national soccer team

Israel is competing in Olympic soccer (officially called football) for the first time since 1976. The Israeli men’s national team clinched its spot in Paris at the UEFA European U-21 Championship, where it lost to England in the semifinals.

Israel has had some promising results on the pitch recently. Its under-20 team captured third place in the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina last year, beating South Korea, Uzbekistan, Japan and powerhouse Brazil on its Cinderella run.

Daniel Peretz, 24, a goalkeeper with Bayern Munich in Germany’s top-tier Bundesliga, headlines an 18-player team that also features Liel Abada, who plays for Charlotte F.C. in MLS, as well as players from professional soccer leagues in Israel, Ukraine, Belgium and Austria.

Lonah Chemtai Salpeter, veteran marathoner and record-holder

Born and raised in a small village in western Kenya, Lonah Chemtai Salpeter moved to Israel in 2008 and became a citizen in 2016 after marrying her running coach, Israeli native Dan Salpeter.

Salpeter is a decorated runner with numerous international titles under her belt. The 35-year-old won a gold medal in the 10,000-meter event at the 2018 European Athletics Championships and a bronze in the same event in 2022. She won a bronze medal in marathon at the 2022 World Athletics Championships, and has medaled in three major international marathons: gold at the 2020 Tokyo Marathon, silver at the 2022 New York City Marathon and bronze at the 2023 Boston Marathon.

Salpeter’s Tokyo Marathon time, 2:17:45, counts for her personal best, the Israeli record and, at the time, the sixth-fastest marathon time by a female runner in history. Paris will be Salpeter’s third Olympics.

On the men’s side, Ethiopian-born Israeli runner Maru Teferi is a former gold medalist at the 2022 European Championships, where he also won silver in a separate event. He has likewise won silver medals at the 2024 European Championships and the 2023 World Championships. Teferi, who has set Israeli records in both the marathon and half-marathon, competed in both the Rio and Tokyo Olympics, and will participate in the marathon event in Paris.

Sam Schachter, Canadian beach volleyballer who played with Jewish teammate at Rio 2016

Ontario native Sam Schachter returns to the Olympics, where he and his Jewish beach volleyball teammate Josh Binstock competed in 2016. The Jewish duo won a silver medal with Canada’s indoor volleyball team at the 2013 Maccabiah Games, before becoming the Canadian national champions the following year. They also paired up at the 2015 Pan American Games and the 2018 Commonwealth Games, where they won silver.

Schachter, 34, and his current teammate, Daniel Dearing, also won silver at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Schachter has coached volleyball at multiple Canadian universities.

Avishag Semberg, Israel’s youngest-ever Olympic medalist

Martial artist Avishag Semberg is entering her second Olympics, where she will compete in the women’s taekwondo 49-kilogram category. Semberg won a bronze medal in that event at the Tokyo Olympics, capturing Israel’s 10th all-time medal, and making Semberg, then 19, the youngest-ever Israeli Olympic medalist

Semberg, now 22, was born and raised in Gedera, Israel, and began taekwondo lessons at age 6. Semberg has won numerous gold and silver medals at international competitions, including silver at the 2022 European Championships.

Claire Weinstein, rising star for USA Swimming

At only 17 years old, Claire Weinstein is primed for a breakout. The New York native, who celebrated her bat mitzvah at Reform Congregation Kol Ami in White Plains, won a gold medal at the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest with the U.S. women’s 4 x 200m relay.

Last month, Weinstein clinched her spot in Paris by placing second in the 200-meter freestyle in U.S. Olympic Team trials with a time of 1:56.18, behind only Katie Ledecky, the seven-time Olympic gold medalist. Weinstein had beaten Ledecky in that event at the 2023 U.S. Swimming Championships by only .02 seconds.

At the 2024 Olympics, Weinstein will compete in the 200m and join Ledecky on the 4 x 200m relay team.

Jacob Gurvis
Jacob Gurvis

Jacob Gurvis is JTA’s Audience Engagement Editor, based in Los Angeles. He graduated from Boston University, where he studied journalism, Jewish studies, and political science. Jacob has written for The Boston Globe and The Beverly Hills Courier, and he produced an award-winning sports talk show in college. He spends too much time on Twitter @jacobgurvis.