In 1992, Yael Arad earned the first-ever Olympic medal won by an Israeli––a silver medal in the Judo half-middleweight (61kg) event at the Barcelona Olympic Games. (Israel first competed in the Olympics in 1952.)
Wrote the Jerusalem Post: "When the history books of Israeli sport are written…the name of Yael Arad will be one of the most seminal."
After serving in the Israel Defense Forces, Arad began training in Europe and Japan. In 1990, Arad defeated the world's #1 and #2 judokas en route to taking the silver medal at the German Open Championships. Following the '92 Olympics, she earned silver medals at both the 1993 World Championships and European Championships.
During her active international judo career, Arad captured seven gold, eight silver and nine bronze medals.