LONDON – The IOC has ruled out marking the 40th anniversary of the Munich
massacre at the London Olympics opening ceremony but will visit the airfield
where some Israeli team members were killed, it said on
International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge
rejected calls for an official commemoration of the 1972 Munich Games attack
during Friday’s curtain raiser, a standing request of the families of the 11
Israeli Olympic team members who died.
Rogge said there would be the
traditional private commemoration with the Israeli Olympic Committee and the IOC
but no minute’s silence at the opening of the games.
“We are going to pay
a homage as we have done in the past and will do in the future. That is what we
are going to do,” Rogge told reporters.
“We feel that we are able to give
a very strong homage and remembrance within the sphere of the national Olympic
committee,” he added. “We feel that the opening ceremony is an atmosphere that
is not fit to remember such a tragic incident.”
Meanwhile, Jewish groups
criticized the decision, calling the IOC’s stance “completely out of
“Hundreds of millions around the world are going to watch the
opening ceremony in London next Friday.
Forty years after the saddest
moment in Olympic history – when 11 Israeli athletes and sports officials and a
German police officer were killed by Palestinian terrorists – it would have been
a excellent opportunity to show to everyone that the sports world stands united
against terrorism,” said World Jewish Congress President Ronald
“Instead, an IOC delegation will commemorate the dead at an
airfield near Munich in September, but that ceremony hardly anybody will notice.
Frankly, that’s not good enough,” Lauder declared.
Family members of the
athletes, coaches and officials who were killed by Palestinian gunmen during the
Munich Olympics have tried for four decades to persuade the IOC to organize an
Their calls were backed in recent days by US
President Barack Obama as well as other politicians around the
Rogge said the IOC would visit on September 5 the airfield of
Fuerstenfeldbruck near Munich, 40 years after the botched operation by German
forces to end the standoff led to the death of more hostages as well as police
and gunmen from the Black September group.