OK, GUYS, here’s a quiz question for you.
We all know that Israel has won wars, has developed nuclear weapons, has sent a man to the moon (that’s top secret by the way, so don’t tell anyone) but there is one thing my country never did until last week.
Give up? We never won a medal at a track event at the European Athletics Championships.
So someone has to put that right — and the lucky dude is me.
So you are probably thinking to yourself, this guy Donald Sanford is one of those plastic Israelis, parachuted in to win medals for Israel and then, flying back to LA for a vacation somewhere well away from the missile attacks. Well, you would be wrong. For a start LA, where I am from, don’t have no Iron Dome against gang members carrying AK47s, and looking at what’s going down in Ferguson, Missouri, right now I’m thinking Israel is a much safer place to be for an African American than the US of A.
And yes, I wish I had a shekel for every time some funny guy says, “you don’t look Jewish”.
But what I would say is that given Israel’s abject failure to win medals in any major track meet in its entire history, it’s lucky that I don’t run Jewish. (Only medal we ever won was for the pole vault and that was some Russian cat).
Anyway, I married an Israeli basketball player, I made aliyah and I have my passport — plus I’m the only hope that Israel has.
So we pitch up at Zurich and immediately everything is cool. I mean, I know I ain’t no sabra, but here nobody is what they seem. There are Ethiopians running for Norway, Kenyans running for Turkey, Somalians running for Great Britain and Moroccans running for France. You should get a medal just for working out who is who.
Anyway, no-one is prouder to represent their adopted country than I am and this time around I know I have a chance. Why? Well, this is the European Championships, which means there ain’t no Jamaicans running, so no Bolt-type danger, and the only American in the 400 metres final is actually an Israeli.
So who is going to beat me? Well, there’s an English dude called Rooney with one heck of a lot of facial hair (which has to slow him down, right?) and a teenager called Hudson-Smith, who is way too cool for school. If not for them I’d have won gold.
Having learnt a bit about my country’s history, I realise this ain’t the first time Great Britain has tried to spoil things for Israel. It’s not the first time they spoilt things for me either. When I was representing Israel at the London Olympics two years ago, someone stole my shoes right before the 400 metres semi-final. Man, those antisemites get everywhere.
Anyway this time I keep a hold on my shoes and come home with bronze. Right now you won’t find a prouder Israeli than Donald Eugene Sanford. As we say back home, ayzeh yoffi, dude. [Or, how fabulous is that?]
We don’t have no Iron Dome against gangs with AK47s
*As imagined by Simon Round