a distinguished career spanning more than thirty years in adaptive aquatics, Uri
Bergman has contributed in virtually all areas basic to the award. He has been a very successful paralympic swimmer and an excellent teacher
and leader of adapted aquatics in Israel. As
both therapist and swimming coach, he has practiced adapted aquatics with
diverse populations including individuals with physical, learning and mental
disabilities. Currently he is the
coordinator of the teacher’s in-service course for Rehabilitative Swimming and
Hydrotherapy in the School of Inservice Studies at Zinman College of Physical
Education and Sport Sciences at the Wingate Institute, Netanya, Israel.
a lower extremity amputee, Uri’s disability engaged him into the aquatics
world. He competed in four
Paralympic competitions (1976, ‘80, ‘84, ‘88) winning a combined 12 gold
medals in swimming events. He was
the coach of the Israeli National Handicapped Swimming Team (1984, ‘88), the
National Water Polo Team winning the gold at the 11th Hapoel Games (1979) and
the 13th Maccabiah Games in Tel Aviv (1993). He has been an inspiration to a generation of swimmers with disabilities
whose international achievements continue to be impressive.
attended the Kibbutz Teachers College, Tel Aviv University and the Wingate
Institute earning degrees in physical education, social work, psychiatric
rehabilitation and coaching. He has
put these degrees to use in many ways, some of which include: physical education
instructor and mental health officer for the Israel Defense Forces, Director of
Summer Camps for Children and Adults with cerebral palsy and Water Polo
Instructor at the Beit Halochem Center for Disabled War Veterans. Besides coaching swimming to disabled athletes, he specializes working
with students of cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, paraplegics, amputees,
the deaf, mentally retarded and the blind. He works with Special Olympics Israel and serves as its Chairman of the
Aquatics Professional Committee. He
recently (1999) served as international aquatics referee at the Special Olympics
Summer Games held in North Carolina (USA).
has been responsible for the Rehabilitative Swimming and Hydrotherapy
Teachers’ Course at the Zinman College. This
includes rehabilitative swimming and hydrotherapy and qualifies these teachers
to serve as swimming instructors for students in rehabilitation swimming
courses. Since 1989, he has
published over 20 articles on all phases of Adaptive Aquatics which appeared in
various professional journals throughout the world.
fulfills his endeavors conscientiously and with a high degree of commitment,
deep concern and responsibility. He
treats his disabled students and children with humility and warmth, and creates
a friendly and cooperative working atmosphere with other coaches and staff. He has shown to be a person of great competence in working in the areas
of physical activity, sports and recreation for individuals with a disability.