> Samantha Kolovson

The Jewish Olympics

21 June 2017


Today might mark mid-summer, but my summer is only just beginning. Tomorrow I leave on the first bit of my journey to the Maccabi Games in Israel with Maccabi USA. Let me just say that again: I'm going to be representing the USA in the rowing competition at the Jewish Olympics. That's pretty damn cool. No, I've never been to Israel. Yes, I'm 23. Yes, I know I really need to go on birthright. Birthright is a free trip to Israel for Jews who've had a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. My Bat Mitzvah was over 10 years ago on May 12th, 2007 and yet I still haven't not been to Israel. The reason for this is simple. Most people go on birthright in college when they are 18-22 years old, but I've always been "too busy" staying in shape for rowing. Now I get the opportunity to visit the Jewish homeland and participate in my sport.

Tomorrow I leave on a train down to Philly where the rowing team, four women and four men, will be training on Boathouse Row Friday-Monday. I am really looking forward to meeting the team. I am also hoping to make an appearance at NP Philly on Friday! The location just so happens to be right up hill from Boathouse Row. Then next Tuesday we leave for Israel! Once we get there we will be training in the morning and touring around during the day until the opening ceremony on July 4th. When I left Seattle I was stopped by a former rugby player that went twice to the Maccabi Games and said it was the best thing he's ever done. I whole heartedly expect to feel the same when it's all said and done.

It's hard to believe a year ago I was writing about the Women's Henley in England and now I'm setting off on another rowing adventure, which I somehow set in motion a few months before Henley was even certain. I applied in February of my senior year and found out I was picked only a short 12 weeks ago. This only made the third and most difficult quarter of my first year as a PhD student more difficult. Now I can breathe a bit and enjoy what really needs to be my last unemployed summer (not that there's not plenty of work to be done). SK p.s. Ally and Becca it's been a few days and I'm still feeling pretty serious about doing birthright together soon (before I turn 26).