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Meet Team Israel: Lee Korztis

By Shari Wright Pilo

Lee Korzits, Israel’s top female windsurfer, is a woman with a goal. After a life threatening accident in 2009, she came back to win two World Championships. Now she’s going for the gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Never Give Up

In 2003, at the young age of 19, Lee won her first World Championship, and then came back to win the title again in 2011 and 2012. Other Olympic Windsurfing Teams name her as the woman they all have to beat! Here is what a few of the countries say about Lee:

  • Canada “STANDING IN THEIR WAY: Israel’s Lee Korzits looks like the woman to beat at Weymouth.”
  • Britain: “Key rival Lee Korzits is aiming to become the first Israeli woman to win Olympic gold”
  • Spain:  “The Israeli (Korzits), being champion in the last two world goes very well with high winds….”
  • Australia “Crisp will face tough competition in her quest for that medal with the RS:X women’s class incredibly competitive. Amongst the leading sailors is Israel’s Lee Korzits”

With all this hype, we were privileged to meet and speak with Lee at the recent Team Israel pre-London2012 two day event.

When did you start in your sport? 

At age 7, I joined the sailing club in Mikhmoret. I started on small sailboats and kayaks,  then I moved into wind surfing.

When did you know you wanted to be in the Olympics? 

In 1999. I was 15 and had just turned professional. That’s when I knew I wanted to take it as far as I can. The Olympics are the greatest sports event in the world and the place where any professional sports person wants to be.

How did your commitment to sports change your childhood? 

Sport is a way of life! It changes everything in you and the way you look at the world.

What is your first Olympic memory? 

The Olympic site in Athens. The Olympic Village was everything I dreamt it would be.

Who are your role models?

Zeev Glauber, founder and head of our sailing club in Mikhmoret. He was the one that at the age of seven told me I could go as far as I want.

What has been your biggest challenge as an athlete?

While surfing in Hawaii, another surfer crashed into me breaking my back and ribs. The doctors said I might not be able to walk again. The recovery and coming back to where I am today was a challenge.

What was your biggest challenge prior to getting to the Olympics? 

It’s a long process. You need to beat the criteria, be one of the top 10 in the world. I competed in many different competitions all over the world. I had to rank as number one in Israel, as only one wind surfer per country can be eligible for the Olympic Games.

Besides windsurfing, what sports at the Olympics do you enjoy and plan on watching?  

All of them!

At previous competitions, which people did you meet that made you go ‘WOW’! 

Any athlete competing makes me go “WOW.” We all give it everything we’ve got. It’s a 24 hour, 7 days, 365 days a year job.

If a young teenager came up to you and said I want to be in the Olympics – what would you tell them? 

Always strive for the best!

What do you want to say to your fans before you go to the games? 

Without you, I could never make it.

Thanks Lee, we will be watching as you surf for the Gold!

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