The 2004 men's windsurfing Olympic gold medallist, Gal FRIDMAN was keen to visit the Olympic Museum during his stay in Switzerland. With his fiancée, he had a special tour of the Museum's collections, with explanations from a member of the Museology section.
A windsurfing sensation
Born in Hadera, Israel, 25 year old, Gal FRIDMAN discovered the joys of windsurfing thanks to his father Uri, who was himself a great fan of this water sport. He was his coach for many years and gave him a liking for competition.
In 1996, at the age of 21, and encouraged by the bronze medal he deservedly won in Atlanta, Gal was nominated Israeli Sportsman of the Year. In 2000, he did not qualify for Sydney after illness forced him to stop competing. For two years, he even gave up windsurfing and devoted himself to other sports, in particular to mountain biking. In 2002 however, he returned to his favourite sport and rediscovered the route of success by becoming the first Israeli to win a gold medal in the Mistral World Championships, in Pattaya, Thailand. In February 2003, Fridman rose to the top of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings and in September won the bronze medal at the 2003 ISAF World Championship in Cadiz, Spain. His achievements earned him a place on the shortlist for the 2003 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards.
A majestic road to Athens
After his main rival, Amit INBAR, backed out, and Gal qualified for the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad, he believed again that an Olympic medal was within his grasp. He was not wrong, and was the proud winner of the gold medal after one of the most intense final races of the competition. The gold medal could have gone one of three ways but Fridman secured it to give Israel its first Olympic gold medal in any sport.
© Clive Mason/Getty Images
When asked if he is thinking about taking part in the Olympic Games a third time, in 2008 in Beijing, the young man replies "Of course, but I hope above all that my medal will encourage other Israeli athletes to prepare for these Games. For my part, I am waiting for my new board and starting up training again!"