The Munich 11, members of the Israeli Olympic Team, weren’t the only athletes to die in the the modern Olympics, but they were the only athletes to be assassinated. They were killed by Palestinian terrorists aided by neo-Nazis on 4-5 September 1972, and the fortieth anniversary of their murders has passed without a formal memorial at either the Olympic or Paralympic games.
That’s not to say that they weren’t remembered: Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, joined other IOC members on August 6 at the Munich memorial – and was told by Ankie Spitzer, widow of fencing coach and Munich victim André Spitzer that in refusing an Olympic minute of silence he had “submitted to terrorism” and would be remembered as "a president who violated the Olympic charter calls for brotherhood, friendship and peace".
I concur with her sentiments, even if I can’t imagine her pain. The fallen were kidnapped inside an Olympic enclosure, so why weren’t they good enough to be commemorated inside another Olympic enclosure? Spitzer continues:
I told him we just wanted a gesture, we don't want it to be political…Rogge was an athlete in 1972. I told him that him and my husband had the same dreams, but my husband came home in a coffin and Rogge went to be president of the IOC.in Kippahs to protest against Anti-Semitic attacks and prejudice (such as the IOC's), odious things that put our struggle to wear the cross at work in perspective. But what about the Munich 11? They were in fact commemorated unoficially by US gymnast Aly Raisman, in her gold-winning performance to Hava Nagilah. Enjoy, and reflect that justice will out.
He eventually leaned over the table, looked at me and said, 'I am not going to do it.'