Memorial held for athletes murdered at 1972 Games


MUNICH, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 5, 1972: One of the eight Palestinian terrorists comprising the Black September group stands on a balcony of the Olympic village during a standoff after they kidnapped nine members of the Israeli Olympic team and killed two others September 5, 1972 in Munich, Germany. All the hostages were killed after a pitched battle at Munich Airport the next day.


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At a quiet gathering away from the cheers and yells of the Olympic Games, Britain's prime minister and top Olympic officials gathered to mark the 40th anniversary of the terrorist attack at the 1972 Olympics that killed 11 Israeli athletes, reports AP.

UK prime minister David Cameron called the attacks "one of the darkest days" in Olympic history, reports the Huffington Post.

"It was a truly shocking act of evil," he said. "A crime against the Jewish people. A crime against humanity. A crime the world must never forget. We remember them today, with you, as fathers, husbands, and athletes, as innocent men, as Olympians and as members of the people of Israel, murdered doing nothing more and nothing less than representing their country in sport."

Families of slain athletes are still critical of the Olympic Committee's handling of the memorial. Widows Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano have been unsuccessfully campaigning for a moment of silence during the opening ceremonies.

Spitzer took to the podium during the ceremony and personally appealed to Jacques Rogge, the head of the International Olympic Committee, reports AP.

''Shame on you IOC, because you have forgotten 11 members of the Olympic family,'' she said. "You owe it to them."

According to the Huffington Post, IOC officials are cautious about including a memorial for Israeli athletes killed by Palestinians because of fears that it might politicize the opening ceremony.

At the Munich games of 1972, 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage and eventually killed by the Palestinian group Black September. It was the first Olympic Games held in Germany since the Nazis hosted the Games in 1936.