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Women/Lee Korzits

Get To Know World Champ Lee Korzits

Written by Amit Inbar, Via Haartetz.com

I have known Lee Korzits for more than 15 years, and it's fascinating, on a personal level, to see the progress this rare girl has made. At the source is Lee's love of the sea in every way possible - surfing, windsurfing, and of course Olympic windsurfing.

She no less enjoys casting a fishing net with her rather special father, Sasson. The sea is good for Lee's soul - but surfing is what sustains her.

She burst into public prominence with her first World Championship title in 2003, but couldn't reproduce that achievement, went through some ups and downs and eventually decided to quit Olympic windsurfing. It was obvious to those who know her that her will to compete, and especially the knowledge that she hadn't realized her full potential, would bring her back into the Olympic reckoning.

Lee has rare natural talent, a competitive urge, and the character that makes her one of the top athletes in one of the most physically taxing individual sports. Thanks to her physical prowess, Lee is a perfect surfer in strong winds, and without doubt the fastest and most technical of our surfers by far. Until recently she struggled in weak winds, but in this tournament she certainly proved the range of her abilities.

The fact that she has practically ensured her place in London 2012 will allow Lee to shed the pressure surrounding qualification and concentrate on preparing for the competition - unlike Israel's men, where a tight and tense duel between Shahar Zubari and Nimrod Mashiah will probably go down to the last race. On the other hand, she is now considered the leading female athlete in the Olympic team, which will only increase the pressure on her to perform.

From my acquaintance with her mental preparedness, I believe she can deal with the pressure. If the wind in London blows at 15 kilometers per hour or faster, a medal is assured.

Lee and I come from the same small seaside moshav, Michmoret. It's probably something in the air we breathe as children, because the number of achievements in seaborne sports from this little village is enormous. The most moving thing for me is to see my daughter Maya, a fledgling surfer aged 10, looking at Lee with such great admiration. To see Lee with the children at Michmoret simply warms the heart.

Lee comes from a supportive family, which reminds me of my family during my career. The Korzits family - Tom, Bar, and parents Sasson and Miki - are calm people who exude confidence, which has rubbed off on her. Undoubtedly, the family and the sea are what molded Lee into what she is. Surrounding her are more excellent people - most of them from Michmoret - who make sure to keep out any unnecessary involvement in things not connected to the sea. It is important to point out Yehuda Ma'ayan, the chairman of the Israel Yachting Association, who always believed in Lee. He played a major role in her return to sporting activity and her rise to the top of the world.

In my opinion, the best is yet to come from her. Lee is again our best competitive female athlete.

I hope someone will follow what has become a local tradition, and hang a large sign at the entrance to the moshav congratulating her on her rare achievement. It may have become a habit over the years, but it moves me anew every time.
Lika - come home quickly so that we can surf together in our secret place.

Pictured at top - An ecstatic Lee Korzits after winning the gold medal. Photo by: AFP

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