Campus of Champions
“The lessons you learn as a professional athlete translate into skills that can transform the rest of your life, including in a career outside of sports,” says Andrea “Andi” Murez, a TAU medical student and two-time Olympian.
Murez and fellow Israeli record-holding swimmer Shahar Resman received this year’s inaugural Sylvan Adams Olympic scholarships presented by the Sylvan Adams Sports Institute at TAU.
The Sylvan Adams Olympic Scholarship Fund, the first fund of its kind at TAU, enables elite Israeli athletes to cultivate both their sporting and academic aspirations at the University's world-class facilities. Designed to promote academic and professional prospects for “the day after sports careers,” the Fund is open to candidates recommended by Israel’s Olympic and Paralympic Committees.
Canadian-Israeli philanthropist and Vice-Chair of TAU’s Board of Governors Sylvan Adams contributed the generous donation that established both the Fund and Institute in his name.
“With limited high school team sports or university-level opportunities for young athletes in Israel, I want to bolster the potential of these high-achieving individuals who are also geared toward greatness beyond the sports arena,” explains Adams, who is also a TAU Honorary Doctor, Global Campaign Cabinet member and second-generation benefactor.
Realizing Herculean Feats
“The Adams Institute has provided me with invaluable support, both on my Olympic journey and now for my medical career,” says Murez.
Already a decorated swimmer in the US, the Stanford University graduate made aliyah in 2014. She credits her formative experience at Israel’s Maccabiah Games—where she was a 17-time medalist—for her decision to move to Israel. She quickly landed a spot on the country’s National Swimming Team and now reigns as Israel’s record-holder in 100-meter and 200-meter freestyle.
“I want other athletes, particularly olim [immigrants] and women, to know that it’s possible to realize both their sporting and academic dreams in Israel,” Murez emphasizes.
The California native represented Israel at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Her training for Tokyo included performance analysis and strengthening at the Adams Institute’s state-of-the-art flume (counter current) pool and at the TAU Sport Center’s Olympic-sized facilities. Upon her return from Tokyo, Murez started her third year at TAU’s Sackler School of Medicine New York State/American Program.
Although she is now focused on completing her studies, Murez is eyeing future Olympics—as a 2024 contender in Paris and as a physician at the 2028 games in her hometown of Los Angeles.
“Right now, I am interested in pediatrics, but am keeping my options open,” she says during a break from clinical rotations at TAU-affiliated hospitals. Murez adds that she hopes to return to Olympic training after her graduation in 2023.
“Most people tell me I’m crazy to be a professional swimmer and medical student, but I couldn’t give either up,” she says. "I’m proud that I've given it a shot and prevailed at both."
Gold Medal Mindset
Three-time World Aquatics Championships contender Shahar Resman holds similar convictions on the parallels between elite sports and high-level professional quests.
“If you wake up every morning to make a positive impact in something you believe in, nothing can stop you,” enthuses Resman, a budding entrepreneur and first-year student at the Kellogg-Recanati International Executive MBA Program at TAU’s Coller School of Management.
At the culmination of his 12-year open-swim career with Team Israel, Resman qualified for Israel’s Olympic delegation to Tokyo. However, with the onset of COVID-19, he retired from the sport, trading in his Olympic dreams for other designs: the business world.
In 2021, he and three partners launched Viewport Studios, a start-up that aims to become “the Netflix of virtual reality (VR)” for global education. He explains that the company aims to establish itself at the forefront of the experiential learning revolution as VR technology grows in popularity.
“The mindset needed to reach Olympic levels requires constantly giving your best,” says Resman, who is also the company’s Chief Marketing Officer. “I plan to take the same approach with my MBA and apply what I learn to hopefully make my start-up succeed.”
Resman discovered his passion for business during his undergraduate studies in economics at the University of Tennessee, where he competed on the swim team.
“When I returned to Israel, I was hungry to continue learning,” he recalls. While still training for the Olympics, he took a job in the Tel Aviv high-tech scene at mobile gaming company Playtika and decided to pursue an MBA. Although Resman was accepted to all of the MBA programs he applied to, he had his sights set on TAU “because of its network of top innovators and reputation as the best in Israel.
“I’m extremely honored to receive the Adams Olympic Scholarship and stand alongside Andi,” he says. “She’s an amazing role model for all you can achieve as an athlete, student and person.”
Like Murez, Resman says he is proud to pursue this stage of his journey at TAU and hopes to see more of Israel’s top athletes join them on campus.
“Andi and Shahar embody the spirit of championship from the pool to the classroom,” says Adams. "I am proud to team up with TAU as we continue to close the gap ‘from the playing field to the lab.’”