Behind the Games

Behind the Games: AJ Edelman


One U.S. born Winter Games athlete is not representing America at this year’s games. Instead, he’s competing for a different country.

AJ Edelman started playing hockey when he was three. He was so good, several prep schools tried recruiting him. Instead, he decided to stick with his Orthodox Jewish School. In college, he played hockey for MIT, but left his talent there.

Fly. #pyeongchang2018 #teamisr #Olympics Credit to EPA agency, Vassil Donev

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He took up body building for a while. He even tried his hand at speed skating and bob sledding. Then, he fell in love with skeleton.

AJ’s first love, however, is his religion.

He decided to become an Israeli citizen after visiting the country. It’s the country he now calls home and competes for.

He’s set Israeli Skeleton records on every track he’s competed on over the past three years. He’s also a four-time national champion.

His fans call him “Hebrew Hammer.”

AJ is the first Skeleton athlete to represent Israel in the Games. His goal isn’t to be the last.

He wants to warn all the athletes that come after him… If you’re not competing on Christmas or Hanukah, your competition is.

-Ashley Sturm

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