Ben Wanger is a Los Angeles 2028 athlete fellow working as part of the Organising Committee's transportation team ©Los Angeles 2028

Former Israeli baseball player Ben Wanger has spoken of his determination to make an "impactful change on the local community" in preparations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Los Angeles.

Wanger, who represented Israel at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, has joined the Los Angeles 2028 Organising Committee as part of its fellowship programme for retired Olympians and Paralympians.

"I’m excited to work on the transportation team at LA28 to really make impactful change on the local community," said Wanger in the latest episode of the Los Angeles 2028 Behind the Games series.

"What I'm mostly looking forward to is the energy the Olympics and Paralympics bring around the city.

"The Olympics and Paralympics have the potential to bring a city together.

"In a country that is really divided right now, I think it's important to unite around a common event and something we can all celebrate."

A joint baseball and softball proposal is one of nine being considered for inclusion as an additional sport at Los Angeles 2028.

Wanger was born in Massachusetts in the United States where he first started playing baseball, throwing the first perfect game in Belmonte Hill High School’s history.

After spending four years at Yale University, Wanger moved to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Wanger joined the Israeli national team after college in what he called "a great opportunity to play international baseball" and helped them qualify for Tokyo 2020.

"I have a pretty uniquely Jewish family background," said Wanger.

Ben Wagner was part of the Israel team that competed at the men's baseball event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics ©Getty Images
Ben Wagner was part of the Israel team that competed at the men's baseball event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics ©Getty Images

"My grandmother on my mum’s side is a holocaust survivor.

"She escaped from Lithuania at the age of three, came to the US and started a new life there.

"So when representing Israel, it was a really special thing for my family.

"We came into the tournament ranked just under 30th in the world and only six teams qualify for the Olympics so we had to beat a lot of those teams that were ranked ahead of us in order to qualify.

"As we beat one team after another, everybody became more and more confident and we’re like, 'Wow, we can actually do this'.

"That energy just continued and it took us all the way to Tokyo.

"We were the first Israeli team to qualify in about 50 years, and this led us to be the largest Israeli delegation to ever come to the Olympics with around 70 athletes.

"It was a very special moment for the country and we were amazed to be a part of it."