Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – Elms College men's volleyball seniors Daniel Bondarovsky (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and Gabriel Reis Levy (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) took home gold medals with Team Brazil at the 2017 Maccabiah Games, hosted in Israel, over the summer.
The Maccabiah Games, also known as the Jewish Olympics, is an international Jewish and Israeli multi-sport event held in Israel, beginning in 1932. It is the third-largest sporting event in the world, with 10,000 athletes representing 85 countries in 45 sports every four years. The 2017 Maccabiah Games, also known as the 20th Maccabiah Games, were held in July 2017.
Q&A with Bondarovsky & Reis Levy:
Q: Tell us about the experience of participating in the Maccabiah Games this summer…
A: (Bondarovsky) "It was an amazing experience. It was our second time there. Our first trip didn't go so well, but our second trip was our best time there. We finally reached the gold medal match, and we won the gold medal for the first time in our country's history. Brazil had never beaten Israel before, but [Israel] usually brings their national team to play. It was a gorgeous environment to play in, an amazing experience, but Israel had a home-court advantage."
Q: Was this the biggest venue you have played volleyball in?
A: (Reis Levy) "Absolutely, but in addition to the entire tournament, we had the honor of playing with a former Olympic setter, Marcelo Elgarten, who played for Brazil in the 2008 Olympics and won a silver medal, along with multiple titles with the Brazilian National team. He's still traveling the world and playing at 44 years old, so I was an amazing honor for the both of us to play with him." (Bondarovsky) "That's another thing too, this is the third biggest event in the world, we are happy to be a part of it and we hope to get selected again in the future, but also the structure of the event was amazing. They broadcasted all our games all over Israel, and the country would stop to watch our games. The environment, the people, the culture, everything was an amazing experience, and we grew as athletes and humans, so we have nothing to complain about and it was an amazing experience."
Q: Was there any wisdom or advice Marcelo Elgarten passed on to you?
A: (Reis Levy) "I think the most important thing he taught us was always to stay calm. Even though sometimes we were behind or losing by a lot, whenever I'd look at him, he'd stay calm, relaxed and ready to play the next point." (Bondarovsky) "We are excited to bring what we learned while playing in Israel back to our team, and make them feel the same way that [Elgarten] made us feel on the court, remaining calm no matter the situation. We are bringing in some talented freshman who can help us reach even higher goals this season, and we had a great season last year, but as seniors now we want to go further than we've gone, and we know we need to work harder than last year."
Q: What are your favorite things about traveling to Israel?
A: (Reis Levy) "In my case, this is my fourth time in Israel, and the thing I like the most is the Western Wall, which is our religious connection to Israel, but not just that and the all the historical places, I love their famous dish Shawarma. It's a wrap with different kinds of vegetables and a type of meat, unfortunately, we can't find any in Chicopee."
Check out the full interview the Bondarovsky and Reis Levy on the Bolt Report Podcast, click here