Two years ago, when searching for his next triathlon Jake stumbled upon the 20th World Maccabiah Games in Israel. The Games combined two of his biggest passions – Israel and his love of triathlons. In learning more about the Games, Jake recalls that they looked like an unbelievable opportunity and “I just had to go for it.” This would be the first time Jake would compete in an international competition on an elite level.
Prior to the Maccabiah Games, Jake had never spent more than 10 days in Israel. Leading up to Summer 2017, he was named captain of the Maccabi USA Triathlon team. Jake was looking forward to creating his own memories, yet he also felt responsible for the experiences his other teammates had. The responsibility played a large part during his three weeks in Israel as it was up to him to carry out experiences that would impact the other triathletes. This is representative of the reason why he began competing in triathlons in the first place; he was always looking to push himself and his abilities while learning to be at ease outside of his comfort zone.
The Maccabiah Games were Jake’s first taste at a leadership role through Maccabi USA and it left him wanting more. This led him to apply and be selected as the Overall Triathlon Chair for the 14th Pan American Maccabi Games taking place Summer of 2019 in Mexico City, Mexico. In this role Jake wants to provide other athletes with a similar experience to which he had in Israel. “At the end of the day these Games are all about the adventure, the experience, and opportunity to be with Jews from all around the world. Jews go where Jews are. To explore new Jewish culture and customs while also seeing the connections individuals have through ‘Jewish geography’ is incredible,” said Jake. “The position is deeper than recruiting talented athletes; it is to create connections and bonds to other athletes similar to you from around the world.”
Jake is honored to be the chair of the Triathlon Team. He is extremely excited to explore Mexico City as the 2019 Pan American Maccabi Games will be the first time he heads to Mexico. He’s already begun recruitment through JCC Triathlon Clubs, USA Triathlon, and is looking into developing an affinity group of triathletes so that individuals come back competition after competition. This is only the beginning of Jake paving the way for the triathlon team; he looks forward to recruiting a new crop of young triathletes while also working with veteran triathletes to serve as role models (such as himself) to the rookies.
Maccabi USA is fielding teams for triathlon in the following age divisions, Open (M & F) ages 18-35, and Masters (M & F) 35 and over. If interested in applying and for eligibility guidelines, please visit our website here. For more information regarding triathlons please contact Jake Sussman at firstname.lastname@example.org.