Discipline/Event: Canoe Sprint; K1
Height: 5'-9"
Weight: 170lbs
Club: NAC (Newport Aquatic Center)
Equipment: Kayak - Nelo Vanquish II; Paddle - Gut

Career Highlights:

  • 2000 Olympic Games - competed for Israel
  • 2003 Pan American Games - bronze medal K-1 1000m
  • 2004 Olympic Games - semifinals men's K-2 500m (T13th); semifinals men's K-1 500m (11th) competing for the USA
  • 2008 Olympic Games


Rami Zur learned to kayak on the Sea of Galilee. Born in the United States and adopted by a family in Israel, his father, a competitive sailor, introduced him to kayaking at the age of 10. By age 16, he was the Israeli National Champion for his age group. Two years later, he medaled in a World Cup event and placed fourth in the Junior World Championships in Japan. Zur completed a three-year mandatory draft in the Israeli Defense Forces, working as a pharmaceutical technician, and continued to compete internationally.

Zur earned a spot on the Israeli Olympic Team for the 2000 Olympic Games. He finished 13th in the K-2 500m event and 16th in the K-2 1000m race. Competing in Sydney was made even more special because his father attended the Games. "My favorite moment was having my dad watch me race. My family has a huge part in my success and being able to share that with them was the best feeling I've ever had," he said.

In January 2002, Zur made the decision to move to the United States and train at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. His dual-citizenship allowed him to make an immediate impact on the U.S. kayaking scene. He won the 2002 World Cup in Duisburg, Germany, in the K-1 500m event and finished sixth at World Championships.

In 2003, Zur earned bronze medals in the K-1 500m race at World Cups in both Hungary and Poland. He also won a bronze medal at the Pan American Games in K-1 1000m. Zur finished fourth place at World Championships, securing the United States a boat in the K-1 500m event at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. At the U.S. Olympic Trials, Zur earned his Olympic spot by winning the K-1 500m. In Athens, he advanced to the semifinals of both the K-2 500m and K-1 500m events.

Following the 2004 Games in Athens, Zur sustained a serious spinal injury after hitting his head in a swimming pool. After months of rehabilitation, he was able to begin paddling again. But a disappointing 2006 season left Zur questioning his future in the sport. Faring better in 2007, he won the U.S. Team Trials in the K-1 500m and placed fifth and third at the Worlds and a World Cup, respectively. 


  • Family: Parents - David and Mira Zur; sister - Shimrit Zur. All live in Israel.
  • Hobbies: All water sports, riding motorcycles, 4x4 trips, mountain biking and traveling.
  • Nickname: "Coach Zur," "Popeye"


  • 2004 Olympic Games, Athens, Greece, K1 500, 11th
  • 2006 World Cup, China, K1 200, 3rd
  • 2007 U.S. World Team trials, Chula Vista, CA, K1, 500, 1st
  • 2007 World Cup, Zagreb, Croatia, K1 200, 2nd
  • 2007 World Cup, Zagreb, Croatia, K1 500, 3rd
  • 2007 World Cup, Szeged, Hungary, K1 200, 2nd
  • 2007 World Cup, Szeged, Hungary, K1 100x4, 2nd 
  • 2007 World Championships, Duisburg, Germany, K1 500, 5th