Winning Israel's First Skeleton Medal, February 2021
The Summer of 2020 was no walk in the park for me as an athlete. In fact, I couldn't even walk in the park if I wanted to. I spent all of June and July bed and chair-ridden, while August was spent learning how to move again.
After a urethral stricture repair surgery at the end of May left me in the ICU at Jackson Hospital in Miami for 3 days with Rhabdomyolisis in my glutes, when they nearly tore through during the 8-hour procedure, I fell into a bit of a depression. Not only was I concerned about the fate of my athletic career given that my glutes would continue to be numb for almost 4 months, but the urethral repair itself had complications, and I was left limping around my bedroom with a catheter bag hanging from my pocket for nearly two months.
Two times the "countdown to removal" on my mirror reached zero, and both times I ended up back in the ER, having another catheter forced into me. Throughout the lonely ICU stay during COVID, having my blood drawn about 40 times in 3 days, ER visits, panic attacks, night terrors, plus *GRAPHIC WARNING* all the pain associated with a procedure where large chunk of flesh are removed from the inside of your mouth to replace damaged urethral tissue by your bladder.
I kept my spirits up with only one thing - Imagining the scene from the upcoming season, with me, feeling healthy, standing on a podium with a medal around my neck and the Israel flag behind me. Missing almost an entire offseason of physical training was not ideal, but with this visual in mind, I found other ways to continue to improve, namely with tons of mental training.
Once I finally resumed working out and eventually sliding, the physical and mental challenges of the sport all seemed so much easier to handle. As the season went on, the physical strength started to catch up to the strong mental resolve I had built over the summer.
By the time the North America Cup in Park City was held in late January, everything was starting to click. Posting top-3 start times in all six race heats, in a field of packed with Americans and Canadians, I was able to navigate the track in a personal best times to secure Israel its first ever medal in a Skeleton race.
With the medal around my neck and the Israel flag behind me, I couldn't stop smiling thinking back to how all the pain I suffered during the summer, had now transformed in to Nachas.