Champion cyclist says she would serve in IDF right now amid removal from International Women's Day event

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Leah Goldstein, a champion road racing cyclist who was barred from Inspire’s International Women’s Day event in Canada due to her previous service in Israel’s military, said Monday she would reenlist if the country needed her again.

Goldstein was born in Canada but raised in Israel and served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) more than 30 years ago. Inspire invited Goldstein to speak at the March 8 event, but the invitation was revoked after an “extremely vocal group” took issue with it.

The Race Across America champion, who also won a world kickboxing championship when she was 17, appeared on OutKick’s “Don’t @ Me with Dan Dakich” and said the organization wanted her to make a statement about the cancellation. She said there would only be one statement she’d make.


“They wanted me to make a statement, too. I mean, what kind of statement were they expecting from me? The only statement I would make is that I was very proud to serve and if Israel needed a 55-year-old right now, I’d jump on a plane tomorrow,” she said. “There, that’s the statement they’d get from me.”

Goldstein then chuckled and said that statement probably wouldn’t go over very well.

Seriously, do we really need to bring politics into this? … It’s insane. I’d run for president or for prime minister, whatever. I’m not into politics. I don’t want anything to do with it. I keep away from it. It’s what divides us. And it has nothing to do with who I am or what I represent or what I speak about. So, what the hell are they bringing this in? They’re just using the IDF as an excuse.”

Inspire pointed to the war between Israel and Hamas for the reason to change Goldstein as the keynote speaker.

“Our focus at INSPIRE has been and will always be to create safe spaces to honor, share and celebrate the remarkable stories of women and nonbinary individuals,” the women’s empowerment group said in a statement. “In recognition of the current situation and the sensitivity of the conflict in the Middle East, the board of INSPIRE will be changing our keynote speaker.”


Israel flag

Leah Goldstein said she “was very proud to serve and if Israel needed a 55-year-old right now, I’d jump on a plane tomorrow.” (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Inspire said it was pressed by Goldstein’s critics to get her feelings on the war, but Goldstein thought it was “ridiculous” she’d have to provide such thoughts to the group.

Goldstein said last week her speech would have steered away from politics.

“I am zero political when I speak,” she said. “Honestly, there is nothing political about my presentation. I just talk about the crap that I went through and the crap that most women go through, and they still do, and how I handled it.”

“I didn’t want to go down that path because that’s not what I do. They didn’t hire me because I was an IDF soldier. They hired me because I inspire. I motivate. They’re making this political when it shouldn’t be. My presentation isn’t about the war. It’s about life.”

Martina Rosenberg, the Anti-Defamation League’s senior vice president of international affairs, says Goldstein’s rescinded invite is “hurtful” and unethical.

“We’re seeing more and more instances of Israeli speakers being disinvited simply because of their nationality or IDF service,” Rosenberg said. “Let’s be clear: Boycotting Israeli speakers is hurtful, antithetical to free speech and ultimately counterproductive. It fails to recognize the complexities of the situation.”


Goldstein was the first woman to win the solo division of the Race Across America. It took her just over 11 days to do it.

Fox News’ Ryan Morik contributed to this report.

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