The Maccabi World Union family and the Maccabiah embrace hundreds of thousands of Jews in Israel and the Diaspora, and we chose to mark today, Family Day, with a family story and a very special interview with Israeli-American swimmer Andrea (Andi) Murez, age 30. Murez is a 50, 100, 200 and 400 meter freestyle champion and has 18 medals from different Maccabiah games, 13 of which are gold. Andi is the first Israeli swimmer to swim 200 meters in less than 2 minutes, and the first Israeli athlete to achieve the criteria for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Almost all of Andi's family members were involved in swimming. The dynasty started with her grandparents Rimon Federman, a member of the French swimming team, and Joy Murez, European champion who represented the ‘HaKoach Vienna’- the leading, star-studded, legendary Jewish sports club that operated until World War II. Andi speaks of her childhood in France with love and nostalgia. "Grandpa Joy used to tell us a lot about the ‘HaKoach Vienna’, and he was the one who taught me to swim as a child and instilled in me the love and passion for swimming,” she said. "My beloved parents nurtured me and gave me confidence and faith in my path, and my brother was a role model for me. We swam together a lot as children." Andi's stories show that the family played an important role in her decision to become an athlete: "exercise was an integral part of our family life. As children, we were not allowed to watch much TV and used to play outside a lot every Sunday morning.”
Andi came to Israel in July 2009 and participated in the 18th Maccabiah where she won 9 medals (5 gold and 4 silver), and in July 2013 she participated in the 19th Maccabiah. There, she won 6 medals- 5 gold and 1 silver.
Following her participation in the Maccabiot, Andi fell in love with Israel and decided to make Aliyah. She excitedly recounts that, for her first three years in Israel, she lived in Wingate Institute of Sport, where she trained full time and even competed in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. In 2017, Andi enrolled in medical studies in the International Physicians Program of the Tel Aviv University Sackler School US of Medicine. She took a temporary break from her studies to train for the Tokyo Olympics and has now started two years of clinical rounds in hospitals towards her master’s degree. Her’s is a success story that has it all: excellence, ambition, challenges, courage, humility, Zionism and love- but above all, Andi's real superpower is family. "It is an honor for me to represent my family on ‘Family Day,’ as my family plays an enormous role in everything I do,” she says. “Their support and having them stand by my side are the driving forces in my life. My parents are very proud of me for making Aliyah and representing Israel at the Olympics, and I have no doubt that my grandparents would also be full of pride if they were still with us.”