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International Olympic Committee selects Israel’s 1st medalist Yael Arad as member

Silver medalist in judo and head of Israel’s Olympic committee will become 2nd Israeli ever on international board after confirmation next month

Israel’s first-ever Olympic medalist, judo competitor Yael Arad, was proposed on Friday to become a member of the International Olympic Committee.

Arad was one of eight potential new members who will likely be approved by their soon-to-be colleagues in the committee at a meeting next month in Mumbai, India.

The International Olympic Committee’s executive board announced the proposed new members in a Friday statement. There was no immediate comment from Arad.

Arad would become the second Israeli to ever hold a seat on the prestigious committee. The first was Israeli Olympic official and senior television executive Alex Gilady, who died last year.

President Isaac Herzog sent “warm congratulations” to Arad in a statement, saying he hoped the honor would presage “many accomplishments for Israeli sports.”

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In 2021, Arad became the first woman to head the Olympic Committee of Israel, the umbrella organization for all Olympic sports in the country.

The International Olympic Committee currently has 99 invited members, including a selection of royalty, sports officials, former athletes and leaders from politics and industry. Their main role in the Olympic movement is confirming host cities for the Summer Games and Winter Games.

Also proposed for membership on Friday were Oscar-winning actress Michelle Yeoh and Olympic medalist Cecilia Tait, a former lawmaker from Peru who won silver in volleyball. The other proposed members are sports officials and Olympic officials.

Arad was Israel’s first Olympic medalist when she finished second at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

She also saw success in world championship tournaments, bringing home a silver in 1991 and a bronze medal in 1993. In 1993, she became European champion.

After retiring from the competition, Arad continued to coach judo alongside going into business and has been a commentator on judo competitions.