From Accident to Olympic Gold

Last night, he won gold in the Paralympics From Accident to Olympic Gold

Noam Gershony at his squadron following rehabilitation Yesterday, the “Magic Touch” squadron added another achievement to its operational successes. This time, in the Olympics; the fight of Noam Gershony, the pilot whose helicopter crashed in the 2006 Lebanon War and reached the Olympic peak

Tal Michael

Noam sits in a wheelchair, tears in his eyes and a gold medal hanging on his neck. In this year’s Paralympic Games, he has managed to accomplish two significant achievements for Israeli sports. Six years after the accident that almost cost him his life, he will return to Israel with two Olympic medals.

For two years, Noam Gershony (29) struggled with the impossible. Day by day, he practiced wheelchair tennis, which is known as one of the most difficult fields in the Paralympics. Last night, Noam beat American David Wagner, who is ranked first in the world, to win the gold in the singles tournament. Earlier in the doubles tournament, Noam won the Bronze together with tennis player Shraga Weinberg.

“A Fighter and Friend with a Giant Heart”

As mentioned, Noam began playing Wheelchair Tennis only two years ago, and broke into the international consciousness exactly one year ago, when he reached the finals of the U.S Open. “Noam is a fighter and a true friend with a giant heart”, says Major Yohai, Deputy Commander of the “Magic Touch” squadron in which Noam served before the deadly accident in July of 2006. “This is a big day and a great honor for the country and the squadron”.

At the height of the 2006 Lebanon War, IAF helicopters were sent to assist ground forces entering Lebanon. At the dead of night above Kiryat Shmona, the helicopters of Noam Gershony and the late Major Ran Kochba waited for the moment they would need to cross the northern border. While they waited in the air, the helicopters collided and crashed in open fields. The accident took the life of Major Ran Kochba, and left the other three crew members with injuries. One of them was Noam, who proved to the entire world yesterday that nothing stands in the way of willpower.