Hatoel-Zuckerman, Lydia : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Hatoel-Zuckerman, Lydia


Country Represented:

Years Competed:
1984, 1992, 1996

Olympic Info:
Hatoel-Zuckerman, one of Israel's top female fencers for over a decade, competed in the foil event at three Olympiads: 1984, 1992 and 1996(Lydia did not compete in the 1988 Seoul Olympics because the fencing competition fell on Yom Kippur). At the 1984 Los Angeles Games, Lydia swept through the first round in Pool F, winning all six of her bouts and advancing to the next round. With 13 more touches for than against, Lydia was ranked No. 4 after the first round. In the second round, however, she won only 1 of 4 bouts. She finished fifth in Pool D and was eliminated from the competition; she officially finished in 26th place.

Lydia returned to the Olympics twice more. At the 1992 Barcelona Games, she finished in third place in her preliminary pool, winning three of five matches; however she did not advance to the next round because she registered only 22 touches against her opponents' 30. Lydia officially finished in 22nd place, a slight improvement over her performance at the 1984 Games.

At the 1996 Atlanta Games, Lydia won her first match over Felicia Zimmerman of the U.S., but then lost in the round-of-16 to No. 5 seed Monika Weber-Koszto, 15-13. After rallying from a 11-7 deficit in the final round to tie 12-12, Lydia (seeded No. 12) then fell behind 14-12 with under a minute to go. She then pulled to within 14-13 and apparently made a touch for a point that the referee disallowed because he said the Israeli was not on the offensive. Weber-Koszto scored a final point with seconds to go to win the match 15-13. Afterwards, Hatoel-Zuckerman said: "Of course I was optimistic I'd win. I fought hard to win and I did win. He (the referee) took it from me. She (Weber-Koszto) should be sitting and crying now to the journalists...I attacked her and he ruled against me. It's not right." Lydia officially finished in 13th place, her best Olympic result.

In Atlanta, she also competed in the team foil event. The Israelis, who were seeded No. 9 entering the Olympics, lost to China in the first round (29-45), but defeated the United States (45-39) to finish in ninth place. The other members of the team were Ira Slivotsky, Ayelet Ohayon, and Lilach Parisky.

Career Highlights:
In 1979, at the age of 16, Lydia became Israel's women's fencing champion, a title she would hold for many years. The Guinness Book of World Records listed her after she had won the title six straight times. In 1991, she finished eighth in the World Championships, and a few years later finished eighth in the 1996 World Cup. She also finished 73rd in the foil at the 1999 World Championships.

At the 2001 Maccabiah Games, Lydia won the bronze medal in the individual foil competition. In 2002, the 39-year-old surprised the fencing world by reaching the semifinals of the European Championships only one-and-a-half months after giving birth to her third child.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. Aug. 15, 1963

Casablanca, Morocco

Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.

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Great Jews in Sports by Robert Slater (New York: Jonathan David Publishers, 2000)
Jewish Sports Review, September/October 2002 issue
New York Times, July 31, 1992
New York Times, July 23-August 3, 1996

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