Meet AJ Edelman, Israel's first Olympic athlete to compete in skeleton

Feb. 16, 2018

Nyanza D./Mic

At the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games, one 27-year-old athlete is breaking the stereotype that Jews can't excel at sports.


A.J. Edelman, aka "The Hebrew Hammer," is Israel’s first Olympic athlete to compete in skeleton, a race where athletes sled down a frozen track — head-first.

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“[Jews] are overrepresented everywhere but in sports. So I really wanted to change that and if I moved forward, do something that had a major impact.”

— Edelman, in an interview with Forward

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As a practicing Orthodox Jew, Edelman is changing the narrative. After a successful college hockey career, he took on the skeleton, and fell in love with it.


“I wanted to do something really, really big, so that people could see me."

— Edelman, in an interview with Haaretz

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Just four years after his first go at the sport, the athlete qualified for the Olympics without the help of a trainer.


Edelman taught himself by diligently practicing on the track and, when he wasn't, studying YouTube videos to refine his skill.


He'll be speeding at the Winter Games at a pace of 90 miles per hour. Watch him on Feb. 14 and 15 evenings Eastern time.

Andy Wong/AP