‘The Hebrew Hammer’ set to make Israeli Olympic history

A.J. Edelman

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — A.J. Edelman competed at the 2014 Annapolis Drug Free Bodybuilding Championships. He is an MIT engineering graduate. He is also Israel’s first Olympic skeleton slider.

Edelman, who was born in Boston, gained Israeli citizenship in 2016 after spending a summer there in 2006 and an academic year there in 2010.

The Times of Israel noted that his nickname is “The Hebrew Hammer.”

Israel’s 13 previous Winter Olympians — all since 1994 — were in Alpine skiing, figure skating and short track speed skating.

Edelman, a former MIT club hockey goalie and MIT Tech staff columnist, decided while working as a product manager at Oracle in 2013 that he wanted to represent Israel on the Olympic stage.

He considered bobsled – a sport with converts from track and field, football and even bodybuilding – but realized it would be difficult to find a teammate.

So he chose the individual sport of skeleton in 2014. He said he’s self-taught from watching skeleton videos on YouTube, giving up the Oracle gig to train full-time.

Edelman competed at the 2016 and 2017 World Championships with a best finish of 33rd. He made the 30-man Olympic field as the last outright qualifier. 

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