April 18, 2012
BOCA RATON, FL – For the second consecutive World Maccabiah Games, Florida Atlantic University track and field and cross country head coach Alex Smolka will lead the United States contingent to Israel.
Smolka was the head track coach for the 2009 U.S. team that brought home 24 medals, five of which were gold.
“I was fortunate enough to be selected four years ago, and the chair of the track and field committee reappointed me again for these upcoming Games, which is a great honor,” he said. “It’s just exciting to work with young people from all over the country.”
This will be Smolka’s fourth appearance at the Maccabiah Games. Twice before, he was named as a competitor – in 1993 as a triathlon alternate and again in 2001 as a triathlete, though that event was canceled. The Games are promoted as more than just an international competition, and Smolka agrees.
“It’s track and field surrounded by getting to know the history and culture of Israel and of the Middle East, and of your own heritage,” he said. “That’s what’s so exciting about the whole idea of the Maccabiah Games. We just hope to go back there again and be as successful if not more successful than in 2009.”
The World Maccabiah Games is held every four years in Israel and is sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee. It is the third largest international sporting competition, with more than 7,000 athletes from more than 60 countries expected to participate. The 19th edition of the Games will take place July 16-30, 2013. For more information, visit the website at www.maccabiusa.com/.