In July 2017, Israel hosted the 20th Maccabiah Games, a quadrennial multi-sport event that aims to bring together Jewish athletes from across the world for an Olympic-style competition.
Asheville School alumnus Samuel Goldstein traveled to the games to compete in several track events. He competed in the Open category, earning silver medals for team USA in the 1500 Meter Run, 800 Meter Run and 4x400 Meter Relay.
Goldstein discovered his talent in track late in his Asheville School career. Primarily a tennis player in high school, he ran track for the first time during the spring of his senior year. Even then, he only attended the last few practices of the season, so it came as a surprise when he won the 800 Meter Run and the 1600 Meter Run and helped the Blues place second in the 4x400 relay and third in the 4x800 Relay.
That performance sparked a love of track in Goldstein, who decided to pursue the sport in college. In 2016, Goldstein entered the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. While he does not run for their team, he has continued to run with the UNC Club Cross Country and Track Team.
With very little formal training under his belt, Goldstein had to stick to a self-disciplined training regimen to prepare for the Maccabiah Games this summer. "I've never had the chance to focus exclusively on track training," Goldstein said. "In order to prepare for this competition, I created a weekly schedule that I would follow for the two and a half months preceding my races. This schedule included 50 miles of recovery/mild intensity runs, two track workouts, and a gym day dedicated to leg work. I have also spent more time this past year focusing on post run recovery stretching, core strengthening and diet."
According to Maccabiah Games' website, the 2017 games drew almost 10,000 athletes from more than 80 countries. Israel held the first Maccabiah Games back in 1932, and since then the games have grown to include 43 different sports in the categories of Youth, Open, Masters and Paralympics.
Goldstein says that he had a great experience at the games—he loved meeting athletes, experiencing the opening and closing ceremonies, and having the chance to explore Jerusalem. "What stood out to me was the almost immediate sense of camaraderie between myself and fellow distance runners," he said.
Now in his sophomore year at UNC, Goldstein plans to continue to run with the club team and participate in competitions as often as possible. He is currently majoring in polymer chemistry and minoring in computer science. You can read more about the Maccabiah Games here.