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The Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life, 2017

ARTS AND CULTURE

Or Sasson

Athlete

Israeli Or Sasson won the bronze medal in judo at the Rio Olympics, but has become famous for his grace under pressure in the face of the worst sportsmanship.

When Sasson soundly defeated Egyptian judoka Islam El Shahaby in a first round bout at the Rio games, El Shahaby broke with tradition and protocol by refusing to shake the Israeli’s hand.

Sasson stood his ground and did not leave the ring, leaving his opponent to slink away to a round of boos from the audience. El Shahaby promptly announced he was quitting judo for good.

Sasson received widespread praise for his dignified response to the snub and went on to win the bronze medal. “My dream came true in front of my eyes,” he said afterward. “I have worked so hard for this. I’ve had so many wins and so many losses and today was my day. I defeated all my fears.” (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.)

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