Lezak strikes gold in Maccabiah debut

JERUSALEM (JTA) — U.S. swimmer Jason Lezak, making his Maccabiah Games debut, and Australian golfer Roy Vandersluis, in his ninth Games, both won gold medals.

Lezak, a seven-time Olympic medalist who eschewed the World Championships to participate in the Maccabiah, won Sunday in the men’s 100-meter freestyle in a time of 47.78. Israel took the silver and bronze: Nimrod Shapira Bar Or finished second in 49.02, improving his Israeli record of 49.10 set at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and Dan Perlman was third.

Vandersluis, 62, who made Maccabiah history by competing in his ninth consecutive games, was part of the Australian masters’ golf team that claimed the crown Friday in Caesarea. His previous best was a silver medal at the 1989 Games.

“Winning a gold medal at the Maccabiah will remain one of the highlights of my life,” the Sydney antiques dealer said.

Vandersluis was selected by Maccabi Australia to be the flag bearer for the team at the opening ceremony of the Games last Monday night.

“I remember that I decided I had such a good time in 1977, I always said I’d keep going to the Maccabiah Games provided I was chosen, and unless I was dead or bankrupt," he said before his departure last week.

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