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    Otto Herschmann

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    January 4, 1877 – June 17, 1942

    When discussing the greatest Jewish Olympian ever, one pretty much has to begin and end with Mark Spitz. But if you was to expand the list to say a top 10, Otto Herschmann would be hard to pass up.

    How come? Herschmann only won two Olympic medals, neither of them gold. Surely, for all the Jewish Olympic achievement over the years, we can find many who did better?

    Here is why: Herschmann is part of an elite fraternity of athletes who won medals in two different sports. In the inaugural Games in 1896, he finished second in the 100 meter swim to fellow Jew Alfred Hajos. Sixteen years later, he switched to fencing, winning the silver with team Austria.

    What makes Herschmann's story even more fascinating is that his second triumph came when he was also the president of the Austrian Olympic committee. To date, he is the only head of an OC to win a medal while in office.

    Clearly, Herschmann belongs up there. And pretty high as well: oh, Spitz is still obviously first, but for all of his prowess in the pool, how would he fare in fencing?

    Verdict: Jew.

    January 2, 2013

    See Also

    Alfred Flatow

    Jeno Fuchs

    Alfred Hajos

    Paul Neumann

    Mark Spitz
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