SAN FRANCISCO --June 25, 2003--
For the first time in history, Israel has a bobsled team. Two Americans, both with dual Israeli citizenship, have been sanctioned by the Israeli Olympic Committee (IOC) and accepted by the Federation International of Bobsled and Tobogganing (FIBT) to compete on behalf of Israel in two-man bobsled. Formed in 2001, the Israeli Bobsled Team (IBT) recently completed its inaugural season, much of which was spent at the Calgary Olympic Park in Alberta, Canada.
Ex-San Francisco 49er turned M.D., John Frank, 40, and business executive Aaron Zeff, 34, are residents of San Francisco. The team is now focusing on next season's World Cup. Zeff said the ultimate goal is to be selected to compete among the most elite teams in the world, representing Israel, at the 2006 Olympics.
"When you think of Israel, bobsledding is not the first thing that comes to mind," said Zeff, driver/pilot for IBT, "but we're proud to be a part of history in the making.
"We both love action, speed, winter sports and Israel... it was natural for us to be drawn to bobsledding. And our respective strengths in hand-eye coordination and power are a perfect combination for us to be competitive at this sport."
Zeff is a former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. Frank, the team's brakeman, started at tight end on two world champion 49er teams and was an all-Madden selection in 1989 for his unyielding and relentless competitiveness on the playing field.
According to Zeff, the IBT already cracked the 60-second ceiling, beating seasoned teams, even one that competed in the 2002 Olympics.
"We're serious athletes with a purpose and ambition," Zeff said. "Our backgrounds should communicate that we're clearly dedicated enough to develop a world class bobsled team for one of the newest nations on the Olympic circuit."
Coached by the former captain of the New Zealand bobsled team, Ross Dominikovich, IBT has, thus far, covered its own costs but is now raising funds to secure the additional money needed for the training and equipment to compete in the world arena. Zeff estimated the IBT would require at least $400,000 in additional funding.
For more information on the Israeli Bobsled Team or to inquire about sponsorship, log onto www.israelibobsled.com.
CONTACT: Sarah Owens