August 1, 2004 | Issue 14

Israeli Awarded Gold in Judo Without Competing

ATHENS, GREECE — [] "There are good wins and bad wins," says Israeli judoka Didan Nezah. "but there is no bad way to win an Olympic Gold medal!" Mr. Nezah won the gold medal in the 90KG (quick, convert that to fluid oz) Men's judo tournament today without even stepping into the ring. He won by the luck of the draw as all of his opponents boycotted the competition, making Nezah the winner by default. Here is how the action played out:

Nezah's first opponent, Iran's Ibrahim Amaterrorist, withdrew from the fight because his country does not recognize the Zionist entity.

In the second round, France's Jean-Francois Ignorant, refused to compete claiming that the Star of David on Nezah's uniform was a religious symbol that tainted the otherwise secular tournament.

In the third round, Germany's Hans Letztenumen also abdicated, indicating that severe post-holocaust guilt prevented him from beating a Jew. "I wanted to show that all of Germany has given up Jew-beating as a sport, especially at the Olympics. I just didn't think it was right after what happened in Munich in 1972."

In the semifinal and medal rounds, it almost appeared that he would have to play, but he lucked out, as the other competitors also bowed out. North Korean Yung Kee and South Korean Kee Yung refused to play one another as did China's Smith Xiao Xiao and Taipei's David Jones, citing their countries political strife with their opponents.

At this point, Nezah only had one more person between him and the gold medal - Russian Ivan Denisovich. Ironically, that match dissapeared as well when the Russian judo Federation withdrew Denisovich after discovering that he was Jewish.

All of the competitors had left the building by the time Hatikvah was played, except for Denisovich, who stayed, and is planning to move to Israel.

"Maybe," said Denisovich, "Didan and I can play together in 2008 and sweep the medals." Of course the Arab League is calling this a Zionist plot to undermine the judo world, and suggested that the scheduler of the event be fired. The scheduler, Moshe Gottlieb, declined to comment.

Although now Mr. Nezah can claim to be the only person who won a gold medal at the Olympics without competing, it will not be without controversy. Shlomo Hocker, from Brooklyn, NY claims to have accomplished such a feat back in 1987. However, his claims are being treated as dubious as the inscription on his medal reads, "I was a winner at Chaim's Bar Mitzvah."


Pencil Yonah Wolf, a former NCAA judo player, once won a silver medal in a NYC Metropolitan Collegiate Judo Competition. This happened because only one other person in his weight class showed up at the tourney, and that guy kicked his butt. He likes to point out obscure judo and Japanese cultural facts such as the Japanese word for "Ten" - the number of people needed for a minyan - is "Ju".


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