Meet your Jewish and Israeli Olympic Athletes: Part 2
Shalom Life previews the Jewish and Israeli representation at the upcoming London games
In less than 24 hours, the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games will take place in London, England, marking the start of the 30th summer Olympiad.
Jews from around the world, including New Zealand, the U.S., Australia, Canada, and of course Israel will take be taking part as they each compete on behalf of their respective countries.
To preview the Jewish representation at London 2012, Shalom Life proudly presents the second part of a three-day series, featuring all Jewish and Israeli athletes competing at the games (click here for part one and here for part three). Today, we look at the second half of Israel’s 2012 delegation.
Shahar Pe’er (women’s singles)
25-year-old Shahar Pe’er is the highest profile athlete competing for Israel at the Olympics, and the only member of the delegation who also made Shalom Life’s list of the Top 10 Jewish Athletes in the world. Currently ranked no. 50 in the world, Pe'er has won five WTA singles titles, and three WTA doubles titles. She achieved her best Grand Slam singles result when she reached the quarterfinals at the 2007 Australian Open, and the 2007 US Open. She also reached the women’s doubles final at the 2008 Australian Open. Pe’er achieved her highest world singles ranking of no. 11 on January 31, 2011, setting a record for the highest ever ranking for an Israeli singles tennis player, male or female. Since then however, Pe’er has struggled and has gone 12 tournaments without progressing past the second round, Pe’er will be competing in her second Olympics.
Pe’er will face Russian star Maria Sharapova, currently ranked no. 3 in the world, in the first round of the women’s singles tournament, set to begin on July 28. The order of play will be available the evening before, as matches will generally begin at 11:30 a.m. The tournament concludes August 5.
Andy Ram and Jonathan Erlich (men’s doubles)
Ram, 32, and Erlich, 35, will compete together in the men’s doubles tournament at the Olympics. Ram was born in Uruguay but moved to Israel at the age of five, becoming a professional tennis player by 16. Erlich, a native of Argentina, came to Israel when he was one year old, and played in his first tennis tournament by the age of seven. The two met while training at the Wingate Institute and in 2003, they became the first Israelis to advance to a Wimbledon final, reaching the semi-finals in men’s doubles, and the final in mixed doubles. Ram and Erlich have won over 15 tournaments together and represented Israel at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. In 2009, they reached their highest career ranking of fifth in the world for doubles, but the duo hasn’t been past a Grand Slam second round in their last seven attempts.In 2006, Ram became the first Israeli tennis player to win a Grand Slam event in mixed doubles at Wimbledon when he competed with a Russian partner, Vera Zvonareva. Today, Ram and Erlich are ranked No. 44 and 43, respectively.
Ram and Erlich will face Spanish duo Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez in the first round of the men’s doubles tournament, set to begin on July 28. The order of play will be available the evening before, as matches will generally begin at 11:30 a.m. The tournament concludes August 5.