Colorado Springs , Colo. - Two members of the U.S. Judo Team competing at the 18th Maccabiah Games are part of a four-person contingent that was selected to represent Team USA during the Opening Ceremonies on Monday in Israel.
Three-time Senior World Team member Aaron Cohen ( Buffalo Grove , Ill. / NYAC / Cohen's Judo / 90kg) was named one of three athletes to carry Team USA banner, leading more than 900 U.S. athletes into Ramat Gan Stadium.
Lindsey Durlacher ( Colorado Springs , Colo. / 60kg) was named the flagbearer for Team USA . A World medalist and four-time Maccabiah Champion in wrestling, Durlacher will be competing on his first international judo team
"They held a press conference with all of the athletes in a room to announce that Lindsey and I would be walking in the whole team and it was such a great feeling to be honored like that," said Cohen who won his fifth USA Judo Senior National title in April. "I have met thousands of new friends here and so far this has been one of the best experiences of my life. I can't wait for Opening Ceremonies!"
David Sender ( Arlington Heights , Ill. ), a 2006 World Gymnastics Team member, and Gillian Schwartz ( Evanston , Ill. ), a two-time Olympian in track and field, will join Cohen in carrying the team banner.
Jason Lezak ( Irvine , Calif. ), a seven-time Olympic medalist in swimming, will light the torch during the Opening Ceremonies.
The Maccabiah Games are the world's third largest athletic competition, drawing more than 7,000 Jewish athletes for each quadrennial event.
Judo competition begins on July 19 with individual divisions and the 20th for the team competition in Tel Aviv.