May 15, 2009
PHILADELPHIA - By Swimming World Magazine
Former UC Santa Barbara swimmer Jason Lezak, winner of seven Olympic medals in swimming and Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel (MUSA), the sponsor of the USA Maccabiah Team, announce today that they have partnered to create the MACCABI USA-Jason Lezak initiative. This new program will raise funds for MUSA, a volunteer-driven, not-for-profit organization that uses sports to strengthen Jewish Identity, promote Jewish Continuity, foster Jewish Pride and create strong bonds with the State of Israel.
MUSA is proud to confirm that Lezak will represent the USA at the 18th Maccabiah Games in Israel, July 12-23, 2009, foregoing the World Championships as a member of USA Swimming, at great personal expense, to support the Maccabiah Games.
"I now have the opportunity to go to the Maccabiah Games in Israel, fulfilling a lifelong dream of mine. This is a decision I made which is as much about giving back to the Jewish community and exploring my heritage as it is about the performance on the world stage" said Lezak. "I'll be representing my country and my heritage as a Jewish athlete and I'm very proud of that."
As a member of Team USA, Lezak will appear at MUSA fundraising events, promote awareness of the organization's mission, organize grassroots community projects that promote a healthy and active lifestyle and much more. Ron Carner, General Chairman of the USA Maccabiah Team said, "Jason Lezak's swimming accomplishments embody exactly what the Maccabiah Games are all about. His acts of fortitude, strength and perseverance are shining examples of what MUSA aims to project. His displays of courage will be an inspiration to the other 950 USA Maccabiah Team members. We are proud and honored to have him as a member of the Team.
"Jason is a great Olympian," Carner continued. "His passion for this cause is something, we as an organization want him to promote. After following Lezak's entire swimming career from his first JCC Maccabi Games to his incredible come-from-behind relay victory in the Beijing Olympics, we are honored to team up with him to help promote and provide support for programs that encourage children to pursue an active lifestyle."