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Yoav Bruck: Still Diving into International Sports

Born in Ashkelon, Israel, on March 6, 1972, Bruck was an avid swimmer in his youth and decided that he would one day represent his home country in the Olympic Games. In 1990 Yoav Bruck left Israel to study in the US at Alabama’s Auburn University. During his time there, amid his studies, he managed to fit his favorite sport into his schedule and did so well enough to become captain of his swim team, leading the group to a fourth place ranking in the NCAA Championship games in 1994. Success was threefold for Bruck that year; he received a bachelor’s degree in public relations communications and journalism and earned himself a spot on Auburn’s Wall of Fame.

In 1992, Yoav Bruck began his Olympic career competing in the Barcelona games. In the 50 and 100 meter freestyle swims he successfully finished in the top 35. In 1994 his country of birth stood proud, as Bruck became a finalist at the Rome World Championships and the first Israeli to reach that milestone. But even that achievement paled in comparison with the outcome of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games where Bruck, along with his teammates, earned fame as the first Israeli finalists while competing in the 4x100 meter competition. They finished in a landmark eighth place, arousing world attention to the stuff Israelis are made of and their possibilities as Olympic swimmers.

Bruck was 28 years old by the time he competed in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. He retired that year as a competitive swimmer. But abandoning sports entirely was not in his game plan; he had already embarked on a new business venture the year prior. In 1999 Bruck had become the founder of ISSTA Sport, a company created to connect Israeli sports fans with sporting events internationally.

Intuitively wanting to expand his business knowledge in order to get ISSTA Sport off the ground, Yoav Bruck enrolled in Tel Aviv University, and received his MBA a year later. Since then, Bruck has built ISSTA Sport as a special niche business for sports tourism. In addition, the company arranges international tours with focuses on music, golf and exotic vacation for both individual clients and organizations as well.

In 2012, Bruck was selected to be the chairman of Sports for the 19th Maccabiah Games, a sporting phenomenon that brings Jewish athletes together from locations all over the globe every four years. The July 2013 event is expected to be the largest ever in the history of the games, and meshes well with Yoav Bruck’s ambition to bring Jews together in the spirit of sports, both from Israel and those living overseas.