NORMAN, Okla. - Junior gymnast Alec Robin will represent the University of Oklahoma and Team USA at the Maccabiah Games halfway across the world in Israel on Tuesday, July 23.
The Maccabiah Games are an international Jewish athletic event held in Israel every four years. The competition is open to all Jewish athletes as well as all native Israelis. At the last Games in 2009, athletes representing 51 countries competed in 31 different events.
Robin, a three-time All-American in 2013 after taking honors in the all-around, vault and high bar, has been waiting for four years to earn a spot at the Games after a broken arm kept him from competing at the last Maccabiah.
"Around September or so, Coach Williams told me the trials were going to be in December and it sounded like a great opportunity to compete internationally," Robin said.
After training hard for months and with his Sooner teammates cheering him on, Robin competed at the USA trials at Bart Conner right in Norman and finished as the top all-around scorer in the USA trials last December to earn a spot on the senior team.
Robin will attempt to compete in the all-around, but will be a meet-time decision due to a shoulder injury that may keep him from competing on still rings.
Competition begins at 11 a.m. CT and 7 p.m. local time in Tel Aviv. Live results can be found on the Maccabiah website.
Robin left for Israel on July 10, and has been touring the Holy Land before competing, seeing sights such as the western wall, Dead Sea, Masada and Bedouin.
"We work out in the morning and then travel all day, then come back and condition at night," Robin said. "Yes, I'm there for competition, but it's a great opportunity to learn about our heritage."
The United States' main competition will be against Israel, which is sending their national team. The Israelis are led by Alexander Shatilov, who placed 12th in the men's all-around at the 2012 Olympics.