Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Profile: Boris Gurevich


Good time as any to link this handy reference to Jewish Olympic Medalists.

Thanks to Oleg from California for the suggestion.


  1. Interesting profile! By the way, there is a Jewish athlete who won Olympic medals 24 years apart (OK she won some in-between but she has 2 "medal gaps" of 8 years each respectively), Dara Torres (you profiled her during the 2008 Olympics when she became the first 40-something to medal).

  2. How sure are you that both are Jewish? Because Oleg sounds Russian and if there is anything we know about Russians is that their Jewdars drain their batteries in under an hour.

  3. Gurevich is a very standard Russian Jewish last name. See http://www.jewishsports.net/medalists.htm, both are listed.

  4. That's a very unreliable source. It lists Russian hockey goalie Zinger who was actually an ethnic German.
    And the name Gurevich, while common among Jews, is actually Byelorussian. It can be a geographical name, from a town in Poland or Belarus, and also a patronymic from a Slavic (but not Jewish) name Guriy.

    I've checked the Russian-language sites. Yes, the second Gurevich (Boris Mikhailovich, from Kiev) is definitely Jewish.
    Here is a link: http://www.sem40.ru/sport/18634/
    The statue in front of the UN building is modeled after him. Also, he is currently living in Chicago.

    But the first Gurevich, Boris Maximovich, is very doubtful. A Muscovite, with a patronymic that is rare among Jews. Definitely doesn't look Jewish, like Boris Mikhailovich does. Never mentioned on Russian-Jewish web sites except in the context of "not to be confused with..."
    I would say this one needs much further investigation.

  5. Not gonna argue with The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame...


    And if his patronymic was actually Mendelovich...

  6. There is no such patronymic. It should be MendelEvich. Also, they list them as Boris Max and Boris Michail, which are definitely not their names.

    Never found a single mention of a Boris Mendelovich (or Mendelevich) Gurevich in Russian internets. Not one.
    More importantly, Russian sites that exhaustively list Jewish sports heroes, all mention Boris Mikhailovich but never Boris Maximovich.

    And it wouldn't be the first time the IJSHF got something wrong. I smell a big gefilte fish here.

  7. It's possible that his original patronymic was Mendelevich and it was changed to Maksimovich to russify it. Won't be the first.

    We're not here to argue with the IJSHF... If you want to take up the case, go ahead!

  8. I wanted to, but their "Contact us" link doesn't work. Looks like it's your mantle to carry, guys. And this case is very far from clear.

    Gurevich's patronymic was indeed changed, but not from "Mendelevich", rather from "Maxovich". Which is unusual but still not Jewish. Again, there are absolutely ZERO Russian-language sources that refer to him as a Jew. Which would be very improbable if he were indeed Jewish. Boris Mikhailovich is everywhere, Maximovich - only on two unreliable English-language sites known to misidentify anyone with a vaguely Jewish name (Myshkin, Moiseyev, etc.). You'd do better to focus on Mikhailovich who has a terrific story with the whole UN statue thing, and leave Maximovich out.

  9. http://zelikm.com/news/2011/09/25/рубрика-подробности

    Евгений Моисеевич Геллер, представляя свою новую книгу «Что наша жизнь? — Борьба!» — составленную им энциклопедию прославившихся еврейских борцов разных стилей и их тренеров.

    В издании «Что наша жизнь — Борьба!» приводятся сведения о чемпионах Олимпийских игр, мира и Европы разных лет и по разным видам борьбы. Среди них Борис Михайлович и Борис Максович Гуревичи...

  10. Ah, that's a start. A Holocaust survivor definitely ranks higher than IJSHF.