Athlete Representing Israel at 2018 Olympics Says Helmet With Design of Jewish Biblical Figure Represents His ‘Impossible Journey Made Possible’
An athlete who will be representing Israel at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games told The Algemeiner on Sunday that the Jewish-inspired helmet he will be wearing in the competition is a nod to the obstacles he has overcome in life.
Skeleton athlete AJ Edelman, 26, posted a picture on Instagram on Saturday night of his helmet that was designed with a drawing of the biblical figure Samson, who is shown breaking down pillars with his bare hands.
Edelman told The Algemeiner about the helmet, which also has the image of an Israeli flag on it, “Samson is there to remind people we can do anything. Breaking pillars represents my impossible journey made possible.”
“I was told that I would never make the Olympics for Israel,” he added, “That I could not run fast enough, and I would never be a good competitor. And I wanted to prove that Israelis can do anything.”
Edelman also explained on Twitter how letters on the back of the helmet holds special significance to him. He wrote, “the back of my helmet features a shout-out to my mom, dad, and ‘KR,’ three people who really helped make this journey happen.”
The helmet was painted by artist Ron Slater, who has also designed gear for famous National Hockey League and college hockey players.
Edelman lives in Israel but is originally from Boston, Massachusetts. He is Israel’s first-ever Olympic athlete in skeleton, a sport in which competitors lie face-first on a small sled and slide down a frozen track at high speed.
The Orthodox Jewish athlete is one of ten members of the Israeli team competing in the 2018 Olympics, but the only one in Skeleton.
The 2018 Winter Olympics start on Feb. 9. Skeleton runs are scheduled to take place from Monday, February 12-15, with awards on 16-17.
UPDATE: Edelman wrote on Instagram on Feb. 6 that his helmet was deemed “too biblical” by Olympics standards and must be changed. He added, “I respect this decision and look forward to displaying something Israel can be proud of during my Olympics runs.”