Olympic Gold Medalist Lenny Krayzelburg Offers Clinic and Competition a part of the Russian Celebration
From October 12 – 20, there will be a series of events in Baltimore marking the The Associateds’ Together: 25 Years After Operation Exodus, Russian Festival. JCC Swimming is happy to be hosting two of these events.
On October 13,
from 9am – 12:30pm, the Team will be hosting a competitive swim clinic at the
Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC. This will be a great opportunity for
swimmers to work with one of the great heroes of the sport.
Four-time Olympic gold medalist in swimming, Lenny
Krayzelburg, will be running the Lenny Krayzelburg Swim Clinic (Clinic).
The Clinic will be comprised of numerous activities. After check in for
the Clinic at 8 am, Krayzelburg will:
· Conduct an in-water session at 9 am
· Present to swimmers and parents, followed by Q&A at 10:45 am
· Sign autographs (so be sure to bring something you want his signature on) at 11:45 am
(Registration for this event will be very limited; swimmers can register online at http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e87ctdit6fd8f705&llr=vrc5xpeab
If you have multiple swimmers who want to sign up at the same time, or if you have difficulties with the registration system, email the swim team at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Later in the
afternoon (at approximately 2:30pm, also at the Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC) Krayzelburg
will be doing a presentation on his life; on the struggles of his family moving
to the United States; and most importantly how swimming helped provide
grounding and structure when he really needed it. This is a free community
His presentation will start at roughly 2:45
· A question and answer session follows until 3:15
· The pool activity begins about 3:30
· Krayzelburg may sign more autographs and pose for photographs following the event if time allows
If you want to
learn more about Operation Exodus, there is a list of the events being held
here in Baltimore at: http://www.associated.org/page.aspx?id=264031
Background and History:
of 1988, on the eve of a planned summit between US President Ronald Reagan and
Soviet Premier Gorbachev, almost 300,000 people marched on the National Mall in
Washington to demonstrate solidarity with people who were being persecuted for
their religious beliefs under the Soviet Union.
In the wake of this historic assembly, campaigns were started around the United States to raise funds to pay for “freedom flights” to help people leave the Soviet Union to move to countries where they could find freedom from religious persecution. In the Baltimore Area, the Associated Jewish Community Fund raised over $1 Billion towards this effort. (Think Schindler’s List but on a much larger scale.) Because of this effort, more than 1.5 million people were able to leave the Soviet Union to try to find a better life.
In 1989, one
of the people who was “saved” by this effort was a 14 year old boy who left
with his parents from Odessa and ended up in Los Angeles. The
impoverished family received a “new arrival” scholarship to the local JCC where
he started swimming for Steve Becker (now a Swimming Hall of Fame member). Ten years later, that boy – Lenny Krayzelburg –represented the USA
in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, where he won three gold medals.
is certainly an icon for young athletes, not only worldwide, but here in greater
Baltimore as well. Despite knee and shoulder surgeries that kept him out of
most competition during the three years following the 2000 Games, Krayzelburg
came back to qualify for the 2004 Athens Olympics and won his fourth gold medal.
However, in 2005 after his swimming career was finished, Krayzelburg ventured
into a new career as a business owner starting LK Swim Academy, a learn to swim
program for children.
In 2008, Lenny Krayzelburg’s Swimming Academy program partnered with Jewish Community Centers Association to have LK Swim Academy become an official signature program of JCCA. In the last four years the academy has grown to seven different locations around the country with continued demand for more openings in the future.
An important part Krayzelburg’s work is his Lenny Krayzelburg Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides high-quality learn-to-swim programs for youth previously excluded from the sport due to social and economic barriers and limited access to safe pools. Programs are conducted in under served communities and address the need for teaching children to be water safe.
Krayzelburg was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2011.