LONDON – With only two days until the opening of the 2012 London Olympics, two
Munich Olympic widows will make a final call to the International Olympic
Committee to hold a public minute of silence for the 11 Israelis murdered at the
Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano – whose husbands, fencing
coach Andrei Spitzer and weightlifter Yossef Romano, were killed by terrorists
along with nine of their teammates – will again ask IOC President Jacque Rogge
to grant the minute during the opening ceremony of the London Games on
Olympic officials have been criticized for refusing to hold a
minute’s silence for victims of Munich massacre at opening ceremony on
The widows were scheduled to present Rogge and the IOC on Tuesday
evening with a petition that has gathered more than 103,000 signatures
requesting the organization honor the memory of the men with a minute of
The petition was started by Spitzer and Romano in conjunction
with the Jewish Community Center of Rockland County, New York, and has sparked
an outpouring of support from around the world, including legislative and
government action in Israel, the US, Canada, Australia, Italy, the UK, Germany
US President Barack Obama is supportive of the call to honor
the slain athletes.
The Jewish Community Center has been working closely
with Spitzer, Romano and the Munich 11 families for the past two years, pushing
for a commemoration at Friday’s opening ceremony.
The families of the
Munich 11 have been asking the IOC to commemorate the deaths of their loved ones
since the atrocity took place 40 years ago. They have been rejected every time.
The IOC has claimed to do so would bring politics into the
Earlier this week, Rogge said the opening ceremony is “an
atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic incident.”
two days to go, Spitzer and Romano want to impress upon IOC officials that they
can change their decision and honor the men.
On Monday, the IOC paid a
surprise tribute to the Israeli athletes killed at the 1972 Games, marking the
event for the first time in an Olympic village. However it drew criticism from
the victim’s families
who said an unannounced minute of silence in London was a
public relations stunt aimed at deflecting criticism against IOC.
Sunday, London Mayor Boris Johnson unveiled a plaque near the Olympic village to
honor the Munich victims.
The Zionist Federation of the UK has organized
its own minute of silence. The ‘Minute for Munich’ memorial service will be
streamed live via a webcast on Friday.
There will also be an impromptu
memorial service in Trafalgar Square in central London organized by private