Zacharia Ofri

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameZacharia•Ofri
Used nameZacharia•Ofri
Nick/petnamesThe Yemenite Giant, Ta-tum
Original nameזכריה•עופרי
Other namesZekaarya Ofri
Born7 August 1932 in Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv (ISR)
Died9 March 2018 in Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv (ISR)
Measurements191 cm
AffiliationsMaccabi Tel-Aviv, Tel Aviv (ISR)
NOC Israel


Zacharia Ofri was born in Israel as the son of a former Yemenite floor layer. His size, and his ethnicity, led to his nickname of The Yemenite Giant. Ofri played for Israel at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics and later at the 1953 European Championships, where Israel finished 5th of 17 teams.

Israel did not compete at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics as they were involved in a military battle on the Sinai Peninsula with Egypt, and most of the Israeli basketball was conscripted into the military, causing them to miss Melbourne, which cost Ofri a chance to compete at a second Olympics. However, the Israeli sports authorities arranged a tour of the United States in 1957 to make up for that loss for their players.

While in the United States, Ofri was noticed by the New York University (NYU) basketball coaches and accepted a scholarship to play basketball there. He married an American NYU student and settled in the United States. Ofri taught high school mathematics and supplemented his income by tutoring young Jewish kids in preparation for their bar mitzvah. He and his wife raised two children and, after the children finished college, Ofri and his wife moved back to Israel, after living in the USA for over 40 years. His daughter, Danielle Ofri, became a physician in New York and a well-known writer on medical topics.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1952 Summer Olympics Basketball (Basketball) ISR Zacharia Ofri
Basketball, Men (Olympic) Israel =20