Medals: 1 Bronze (1 Total)
Born in Ukraine, Mark Berger came to Canada in 1977 and immediately made an impact on the national judo scene. Although he could not compete internationally for Canada until receiving his citizenship in 1980, he spent his first three years in the country capturing medals in judo tournaments nationwide. He earned his first international medal, bronze in the heavyweight division, at the 1980 United States Open, but was unable to participate in that year’s Summer Olympics, as Canada was among the nations that boycotted the Games. He also won his first national title that year and defended it in 1981, the same year that he came in seventh at the World Championships and won a gold medal at the Maccabiah Games. In 1982 he lost the Canadian title to [Fred Blaney], but regained it in 1983 and won gold at that year’s Pan American Games, in addition to coming in fifth at the World Championships and being named Manitoba’s Male Athlete of the Year. He defended his national crown in 1984 and was finally afforded the opportunity to attend the Olympic Games. In the heavyweight tournament, he had the misfortune of being drawn against upcoming gold medalist [Hitoshi Saito] of Japan and was easily dispatched. He fought hard in the repêchage, however, defeating [Isidore Silas] of Cameroon and [Radomir Kovačević] of Yugoslavia to win the bronze medal.
Although he lost his Canadian title in 1985, Berger remained successful in the late 1980s and won gold at that year’s Maccabiah Games. He regained his national crown in 1986 and took silver at that year’s Commonwealth Games behind [Elvis Gordon] of England. His final international medal, bronze, came at the 1987 United States Open, and the following year he broke his leg and was unable to represent Canada at the 1988 Summer Olympics. After retiring, he took up coaching and founded the West Kildonan Judo Club in Winnipeg. He has been inducted into the Manitoba Sports (1994) and Judo Canada (1996) Halls of Fame. His daughter Olia was a bronze medalist in the heavyweight division at the 2003 Pan American Games.
|1984 Summer||30||Los Angeles||Judo||Men's Heavyweight||Canada||CAN||3T||Bronze|