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Yael Arad

At her very first judo class in the mid-1970’s, Yael Arad was the only girl. The youngest of four, she was used to being a tagalong, but in this class she led the pack. What followed was an unexpected journey that opened up her world and laid the foundation for her future career.  


Yael Arad took to the sport instantly, not only because of her natural athletic aptitude, but for the mental agility and fortitude it required. And it almost goes without saying that eight-year-old Yael enjoyed sending her peers flying through the air.


Yael walks Gil through her triumphant performance at the 1992 Olympics, and how she knew when it was time to retire. Gil discovers Yael’s moves are strategic and inspiring both on and off the mat.

More about storymark

storymark is brought to you by itrek studios. itrek is a non-profit that inspires tomorrow’s leaders through peer-led, week-long treks in Israel to experience its innovation, diversity and complex reality firsthand. For more on itrek’s mission, visit

storymark is hosted by Gil Galanos. Our Producer is Elie Bleier. Our Associate Producer is Rebekah Sebastian. Our Editor is Zev Levi.

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