Born: September 16, 1975
Association: Sdot Yam Sailing Club
Coaches: Gur Steinberg and Michael Gebhardt
Only once has the Israel National Anthem been played over the course of the 28 Modern Day Olympic Games and it occurred when surfer Gal Fridman stood on the podium at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens with a gold medal around his neck.
One of Israel’s greatest athletes, Fridman had already captured a bronze medal at the 1996 Games in Atlanta and had won numerous titles including second place at the 1995 European Championships and the 1996 World Championships along with winning the 2002 World Championship.
The State of Israel held its breath and thousands of spectators were glued to their television sets to watch the drama unfold when Fridman won the Gold. The Israeli surfer had to finish the last race in one of the top three positions as he battled his main rival Ricardo Santos from Brazil.
Fridman finished the decisive race in second place after the judges decided to shorten the race by one buoy. Santos was left far behind and finished in 4th place overall.
Gal understood that he had won the gold medal and stretched out in exhaustion on his surf board. The Israeli flag was lifted high above them all as Greek Nikolaos Kaklamanakis won the silver and Nick Dempsey of Britain won the bronze. Alex Giladi placed the first ever gold medal won by an Israeli athlete around the neck of Gal Fridman.
In Beijing in 2008, Israel may not have won another gold medal but Shahar Tzuberi took home a bronze medal in windsurfing, providing the country with much pride and honor.
Gold Medal, 2002 – Mistral
Silver medal, 1996 – Mistral
Bronze Medal, 2003 – Mistral
Silver Medal, 1995 – Mistral
Silver Medal, 2003 – Mistral
Bronze Medal, 1997 – Mistral
Bronze Medal, 2001 – Mistral