Sport: Sailing Inducted: 2005 Country: Israel Born: September 19, 1975, in Hadera, Israel
Gal Fridman won the 2004 Olympic Mistral Windsurfing event
in Athens, and with the victory became Israel’s first-ever
Olympic gold medalist.
In 12 previous Olympiads, dating back to Israel’s 1952 entry into the international
Games, Israeli athletes had earned only one silver and three bronze competition
medals––one of them by Fridman in 1996. The victory-platform presentation
of 28-year old Fridman’s gold medal marked the first time Hatikvah (the
Israeli national anthem) was played at an Olympic awards ceremony.
Eight years earlier, Fridman took a bronze medal in the Mistral at the 1996 Atlanta
Olympics. Illness prior to the 2000 Olympiad kept him out of those Games.
In December 2002, the Israeli Windsurfer won the Mistral World Championship.
Three months earlier, he was silver medalist at the European Championships.
Fridman’s key results leading up to his Olympic victory:
3rd––2003 ISAF World (Mistral) Championship, September 2003 (grade
2nd––Athens Regatta, August 2003 (ungraded)
4th––Mistral European Championship, May 2003 (grade 1)
2nd––Semaine Olympique Francaise, May 2003 (grade 1)
1st––Mistral World Championship, December 2002 (grade W)
2nd––Mistral European Championship, September 2002 (grade 1)
In February, 2003, Fridman was listed No. 1 on the International Surfing Association
Federation (ISAF) rankings. Just before the start of the 2004 Olympics, he was
ranked seventh in the World.
Fridman was just seven years old when his father introduced windsurfing to the
youngster who would become Israel’s first Olympic gold medalist.