1960, 1964, 1968
One of the greatest swimmers in Israeli history, Shefa competed in three Olympiads in the 1960s. At the Rome Olympics in 1960, he finished fifth in his preliminary heat in the 200-meter breaststroke (2:51.7), and did not qualify for the finals. Shefa was also a member of Israel's 4x100-meter medley relay team that finished sixth in their preliminary heat (4:37.6), and did not advance to the final.
Shefa returned to the Olympics in 1964 at Tokyo and competed in two individual events. In the 400-meter individual medley, he placed seventh in his first-round heat with a time of 5:11.2; he officially finished in 20th place. Shefa also competed in the 200-meter breastroke, finishing fifth in his heat with a time of 2:40.6 (19th overall).
Shefa's final Olympiad was in Mexico City in 1968 when he competed in two events, both individual medleys. In the 200-meter competition, he finished fifth in his preliminary heat (2:26.6), and did not advance to the final; he officially finished in 32nd place. In the 400-meter individual medley, Shefa placed seventh in his preliminary with a time of 5:22.6 and finished in 30th overall.
Shefa was Israel's national swimming champion from 1959-1968, swimming the breaststroke and individual medley. In 1962, he was named Israel's Sportsman of the Year. In the past ten years, Gershon has remained one of the top swimmers in the world in his age group. At the 1990 World Masters Tournament, Shefa won the 200-meter breaststroke with a time of 2:46.45; he also won two other breaststroke events at the tournament.
Shefa has continued to compete internationally and in 1999, he won the European Master's Championship (55-69 years old) in the 200-meter individual medley (2:41.25), and the 200-meter breaststroke (2:53.0). Competing in the 55-59 age group at the 2000 World Master's Swimming Championships, Shefa finished second in the 200-meter individual medley (2:41.20), second in the 400-meter individual medley (5:49.78), and eighth in the 50-meter backstroke (36.42).
Birth and Death Dates:
May 18, 1943
Kibbutz Givat Haim
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
Great Jews in Sports by Robert Slater (New York: Jonathan David Publishers, 2000)
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
New York Times, August 27-28, 1960
New York Times, October 11-October 25, 1964
New York Times, October 14-October 28, 1968