World kickboxing champion and Israel’s first female elite commando instructor Leah Goldstein, with No Finish Line Living Adventures, is being honoured by BDO’s Top 40 Over 40 program.
Goldstein’s parents immigrated to Vancouver from Israel in 1968, and she was born in 1969. After a tough start at school, she began Tae Kwon Do and Kickboxing at nine-years-old and attained world kickboxing champion status at 17. She then enlisted in the Israeli Army and struggled in a male-dominated climate to become Israel’s first female elite commando instructor, according to a Chamber of Kelowna news release.
Goldstein became a specialist and trainer in Krav Maga, the lethal training in self-defense with your bare hands. From there she served in an undercover anti-terrorism unit. When half her team was lost in the line of duty, she was released to return to Canada and pursue a pro-cycling career.
She settled in Vernon where she could train in hilly terrain. She began winning ultra endurance and professional races in North America and the world. After a life-threatening cycling crash in 2005, she came back to win the most gruelling single stage, a 3000-mile cycling race — Race Across America in 2012. Returning to Vernon and her personal training clients she began a career in keynote speaking and self defense training. Now she volunteers, mentoring youth and women in need and travels to speak and train. Her autobiography, No Limits, was published in 2015. Goldstein has entered Race Across America 2019. Her goal at 50-years-old is to break the all-time record, the release said.
While training Israeli Commandos, Goldstein often created scenarios in which failure was imminent. Whether running through the desert, orienteering through a city or contending with an obstacle course, soldiers were often forced to contend with much more. They would be sent off course and kept awake for two days. They would run out of food and water. As a trainer, Goldstein knew that facing adversity would build them into a team. Militaries around the world use these leadership methods to create the strongest units possible, the release says.
Goldstein visits Community Futures North Okanagan monthly in Vernon and has developed long-term relationships with youth. She shares stories of her journey through competitive sports and the anti-terrorism organizations she worked with. She tries to instill the knowledge that success can be achieved even in the face of incredible suffering and dysfunction. She shares strategies to find inner strength and push past perceived boundaries. SheI regularly volunteers her time speaking at Women of Worth events. She has partnered with Venture Training in Vernon as her charitable cause of choice for the 2019 Race Across America, the release said.