Givati Brigade soldiers and commanders held their very own Olympic Games last week. The goal? To keep the soldiers on their feet and prepared for any eventuality.

The Givati Brigade’s training base in southern Israel was host to the first ever Givati Olympic Games last week. “The purpose of the Givati Olympic Games is to maintain the professional competence of the entire brigade, and to make sure that we keep training even while soldiers are deployed in operational areas,” said Givati Training Base Deputy Commander Guy Besson. “It’s about raising the motivation of our soldiers.”

Givati’s Top Soldiers Go Head-to-Head in Brigade’s First Ever Olympic Games

Every regiment in Givati was represented, including Rimon, its elite special forces unit. The commanders didn’t just stand around watching their soldiers – they participated in the competitions too. Soldiers and commanders were divided by their professional specialties and had to shoot, run, crawl and defend themselves from attack in a Krav Maga exercise.

Givati’s Top Soldiers Go Head-to-Head in Brigade’s First Ever Olympic Games

Soldiers had to pass tests before they were accepted into the competition. “We prepared and trained the soldiers on the battalion level,” Givati ​​Reconnaissance Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Eli Gino said.

Givati’s Top Soldiers Go Head-to-Head in Brigade’s First Ever Olympic Games

One of the soldiers participating in the competition was Cpl. Meir Fox, originally from Teaneck, New Jersey. He immigrated to Israel in August 2012, and drafted into the IDF (Zahal) straight away. “A lot of my friends were in Givati and had positive experience so I decided to join,” he says. “We spent the week before the competition preparing and honing our skills, and hopefully that will be enough for us to win today.”

Givati’s Top Soldiers Go Head-to-Head in Brigade’s First Ever Olympic Games

Commanders participated in the competition to set a personal example for their soldiers. “By participating, the commanders showed that you have to be able to do what they expect of their soldiers,” Givati Training Base Commander Lt. Col. Itzik Cohen noted.

An award ceremony marked the end of a long day. The Rimon Special Forces Unit came in first place, Givati ​​Reconnaissance Battalion in second and the “Tzabar” Battalion in third.

Givati’s Top Soldiers Go Head-to-Head in Brigade’s First Ever Olympic Games

“The Givati Brigade’s first task is to protect the Judea and Samaria region,” said the Brigade Commander, Col. Ofer Vinter. “The second task is to prepare for war – no one knows when the next one will come. We must be prepared for tomorrow, and that tomorrow begins with the professionalism of our soldiers,” he said.