(1967 - )
By becoming the first Israeli Olympic medalist, Yael Arad conferred a
whole new dimension on sports in Israel. Her victory was regarded as
both national and personal, and put Israel on the map of
international athletic achievements.
Arad began to study judo as a child, although sports in general
and judo in particular was not established as a serious career. For
lack of judo partners, she trained with the coach of the men's team,
and she has also trained in Europe and Japan. She achieved her first
international title in middleweight competition in 1984, and
continued to compete successfully in the following years.
At the Olympic games in Barcelona in 1992, Yael Arad became the
first Israeli athlete to win an Olympic medal. Narrowly missing the
gold, based on a judge's decision in the half middle-weight
competition, she returned home with the silver medal and became a
national hero. She continued to compete and aspired to win the gold
medal at the Atlanta Olympic games in 1996. At the games Arad chose
to compete despite being ill, but her weaker performance cost her the
chance for a medal.
Arad has worked to promote sports for women, and in 1997, she was
elected as one of the sports representatives to sit on the Israeli
Pedagogic Center, The Department for Jewish Zionist Education, The
Jewish Agency for Israel, (c) 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, Director:
Dr. Motti Friedman, Webmaster: Esther Carciente.