A life without
From fighting for gold on the world stage, to fighting terrorists in the Middle East, Leah Goldstein is never one to back down from a challenge
Linda Guerrette photo
ycling though a deserted stretch of highway in Kansas, Leah Goldstein squints her eyes. A strong crosswind blows sand into her face, peppering her cheeks like a hundred fiery needles. Her vision begins to blur until all she can see is a white line ahead of her bike, as she tries to ignore the nauseating pain shooting through her neck. Her head heavy, her eyelids drooping, hallucinations begin to take over any rational thoughts that may have been circling inside her pounding head. She's unsure how she will make it through the next couple of hours, let alone the next thousand miles. Goldstein's experience in 2011 competing in Race Across America – a more than 3,000-mile ultra-endurance cycling race from California to Maine – is but one instance of the Vancouver native pushing herself to the brink of survival.
10 Fall 2015 • INDULGE
by Melissa Smalley A life of championships won, challenges overcome and barriers broken down is captured in a recently published autobiography, No Limits. It tells the inspirational story of a 15-year-old championship kickboxer, an eager young soldier in the Israeli army, a lone female police officer in the Israeli special forces and an international championship cyclist fighting back from the brink of death. More than anything else, it tells the story of one woman's unstoppable will. It's a trait the now 46-year-old has exhibited since her childhood, growing up on the west side of the city with her older sister and parents, who had immigrated from Israel before she was born. In Vancouver, she rode her bike everywhere she went, started doing sit-ups at the age of six, and was obsessed with movie star/martial artist Bruce Lee, begging her parents to enrol her in taekwondo classes. Fulfilling a long-held promise by her parents,
Goldstein began learning the martial art when she turned nine years old. It was her first taste of fierce competition that would eventually lead her to the top of podiums around the world. Within five years of her first taekwondo class, she earned her black belt and a national junior champion title. Bored with taekwondo, she discovered kickboxing – a much less refined sport, then often fought in dingy hotels in front of undesirable crowds. "It wasn't the kind of place you'd want your little girl hanging out in," Goldstein recalls of her father's response to her new sport. Under an intense training regime, Goldstein was unstoppable, winning every fight on her way to being named national women's bantamweight champion at the age of 15, and world champion two years later. Upon graduating from high school, Goldstein embarked on fulfilling a dream she'd held as long as she could remember; she moved to