As this year’s Israeli delegation prepares to head to London to compete in the
2012 Olympics, this year’s delegation will surely remember the courageous
athletes from the ‘72 Munich Games.
An event that took place Tuesday
evening in Talpiyot shed light on what the Olympics represent.
Olympics are a symbol of freedom and peace between nations” said Dan Alon, an
Olympic Fencer from the ‘72 Israeli delegation, to a large crowd at the
Association of Americans & Canadians in Israel (AACI).
survivor of the Munich Massacre, is featured in the documentary “The Eleventh
Day: The Survivors of Munich ‘72”.
Alon began fencing when he was only
twelve years old and quickly made a name for himself, earning bragging rights as
Israel’s Junior Champion, and following national service, Israeli’s National
Born in Tel Aviv, Dan, like many other athletes today, had a
singular dream – to participate in the Olympics.
Dan spoke to the crowd
about his own experiences at the Olympics, and recounted the horrific events
Weightlifters, Moshe Weinstein, and Joseph Romano, both
whom Alon called, “Tremendous human beings, and very dedicated athletes,” tried
to fight off the terrorists, and as a result lost their lives.
world of sports, athletes relish the opportunity to represent their country at
big sporting events such as the Olympics. But very few of them are faced with
the life threatening situations that the Israeli delegation faced in
For the Israeli delegation, the Olympics wasn’t just a
competition, it was a chance to show the world that the nation of Israel was
thriving. Alon expressed that being the first Israeli team to compete since
World War II was a once in a lifetime opportunity “to show the world, that we
are here, and still alive!” Alon remembered how close he was to making it to the
semifinals. He had defeated his opponent in the first four rounds of his fencing
quarterfinal, and needed just one victory to advance.
“My opponent won a
few point, and all of a sudden he had defeated me five games to
Athletics competitions are decided by mere milliseconds of a
difference. A few milliseconds was the difference that some of the Israeli
Olympians had, to try and save their teammates.
Though the games
continued after the terrible massacre, according to Alon, “some of the players
from various countries decided that in light of what had happened, they would
pack their bags and return home – for this I applaud them.”
For Alon, and
other Israeli Olympians, one of the most important aspects of the Olympics is
that they know the people of Israel will always be by their side. Some of the
pain and suffering he felt returning to Israel after the massacre was alleviated
when he stepped off the plane.
“When we land at the airport, and I see
these beautiful Israeli people, waiting for us – thousands of them, it was
something I will never forget.”