IOC to memorialize Munich 11 at Games

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March 2, 2015 06:33
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After years of protests, the International Olympic Committee has decided to commemorate the 11 Israeli victims of the 1972 Munich massacre by setting up a special area in the Olympic Village at Rio 2016, as well as holding a “moment of reflection” during the Closing Ceremony.

IOC President Thomas Bach announced the decision after a meeting of his executive board on Friday.

A long campaign led by Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano, widows of two of the murdered athletes, demanded that the IOC commemorate the Israelis in the opening or closing ceremony, but their pleas had fallen on deaf ears until the past weekend.

Bach promised the IOC will “remember all those who have lost their lives at the Olympic Games,” and not just the murdered Israelis, including the likes of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, who was killed in a training accident on the eve of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games.

“Participants at past Olympic Games have been affected by casualties and incidents back in their home counties,” said Bach.

“We want to give the athletes the opportunity to express their mourning in a dignified way and environment in the Olympic Village where representatives of the whole world are living peacefully under the same roof.

“At the Closing Ceremony, the Games come to an end and many people feel that it is a moment to remember people who have died at the Olympic Games.”

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