MunichOlympicsWorld News

Olympics: Munich victims honoured for first time at opening ceremony

image copyrightGetty Images

image captionPalestinian gunmen took 11 Israeli athletes hostage in Munich’s Olympic village

The victims of the terror attack at the Munich Olympics have been remembered during Tokyo’s opening ceremony, the first time in nearly half a century.

A moment’s silence commemorated the 11 Israeli athletes killed by Palestinian gunmen in 1972.

Families of the victims had for years been urging Olympic organisers to honour them at an opening ceremony, but had their requests repeatedly rejected.

“Finally there is justice,” two of the victims’ widows said.

“We went through 49 years of struggle and never gave up,” said Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano, who were at Friday’s ceremony.

The Munich massacre on 5 September 1972 is one of the darkest chapter’s in Olympic history.

Eleven members of the Israeli team were taken hostage inside the Olympic village by Palestinian gunmen from the Black September group.

Two were shot dead almost immediately, while the others were killed during a gun battle with West German police at a nearby airfield, as the militants tried to take them out of the country.

“We remember those who lost their lives during the Olympic Games,” an announcer said during the ceremony.

“One group still holds a strong place in all our memories and stand for all those we have lost at the games – the members of the Israeli delegation at the Olympic Games Munich 1972,” the announcer added, as the stadium darkened and a soft blue light illuminated parts of the arena.

The move was praised by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

“I welcome this important and historic moment. May their memory be blessed,” he wrote wrote on Twitter.

Relatives of those killed sought for them to be remembered at opening ceremonies but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had previously ignored the calls.

The IOC faced criticism after rejecting a request for a minute’s silence at the London 2012 Games to mark the 40th anniversary of the attack.

Organisers said the ceremony was not a “fit” atmosphere for a tribute.

In 2016, the IOC created a “Place of Mourning” in Rio’s Olympic village to commemorate those who had died during the Games.

After watching Friday’s tribute in Tokyo, Ms Spitzer and Ms Romano said they could not hold back their tears.

“This is the moment we’ve waited for,” the widows added.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
Close
Close