Seven athletes have been selected to participate in the torch lighting ceremony at the 20th Maccabiah Games, including two swimmers. American Anthony Ervin and Frenchman Fabien Gilot have both been selected, along with five Israeli athletes.
Ervin, fencer Eli Derscwhitz and rugby sevens star Zach Test will be the three Team USA Olympians on the American team at the Games, set to begin in July. Team USA will have the largest delegation at the competition.
U.S. General Manager Jeff Bukantz will lead the team of over 1100 into competition. He said, “In just over two weeks, Team USA will arrive in Israel for the experience of a lifetime”.
Along with Ervin and Gilot, Olympic medalists in judo Ori Sasson and Yarden Gerbi, gymnast Neta Rivkin, basketball player Omri Casspi and Paralympic medalist Moran Samuel will also participate in the torch lighting ceremony.
Both having competed at the Maccabiah Games in the past, multi-time Olympic gold medalist Lenny Krayzelburg and Jason Lezak will join Team USA as ambassadors.
Both Krayzelburg (2001) and Lezak (2009) skipped the World Championships the year the competed at the Maccabiah Games. Now it’s not clear if that is Ervin’s intention (if he qualifies for the U.S. team), but with the Maccabiah Games wrapping up on July 18th and the swimming competition in Budapest starting on the 23rd, it would be possible to do both.
Despite winning Olympic gold last year in Rio Ervin is far from a lock to qualify in his signature 50 freestyle, with bronze medalist Nathan Adrian, now three-time NCAA champion Caeleb Dressel, and a few others nipping at his heels.