Gold medalist weightlifter Isaac ‘Ike’ Berger dead at 85

Jewish featherweight Olympic gold medalist Isaac “Ike” Berger passed away on Saturday at 85.

His family confirmed the Olympian’s death, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

His background

“Berger was the first featherweight in history to combine lift more than 800 pounds — spread over two different lifts — even as his bodyweight never surpassed 60 kilograms, or about 132 pounds,” the Times of Israel reported.

“Born in 1936 in British Mandatory Palestine, Berger was raised by a Hasidic family in the Beit Yisrael neighborhood of Jerusalem. His father was a rabbi,” it added.

His Olympic career

“Berger and his family moved to the United States in 1949, and he became a citizen six years later. Then his athletic career took off,” the Jerusalem Post stated.

“In the ensuing decade, Berger would go on to become one of the most decorated featherweights in US history. He competed in three Olympics, winning gold in 1956 and silver in both 1960 and 1964,” it added.

The champion was added to the U.S. Weightlifting Hall of Fame in 1965. Berger’s many accomplishments also included being added to the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

One of Israel’s early great athletes, Berger set a high level of achievement to raise the standard in the nation. His achievements continue to stand out despite being decades old.

Berger is survived by three siblings and 13 nieces and nephews.

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