50 years after Olympic attack, Israeli marathon team wins gold at Championships in Munich

“In Munich, after everything that happened here in history, to come back and win is something special," said runner Marhu Teferi regarding the 1972 Munich Olympics attack.

 Israel's men's marathon team won gold at the European Championships in Munich, Germany, Aug. 15, 2022.  (photo credit: Marius Becker via Getty Images)
Israel's men's marathon team won gold at the European Championships in Munich, Germany, Aug. 15, 2022.
(photo credit: Marius Becker via Getty Images)

Fifty years after 11 Israeli athletes were murdered at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Israel’s men’s marathon team won gold at the European Championships in that same city.

The Israeli team won on Monday with a total time of 6 hours, 31 minutes and 48 seconds. Ethiopian-born Israeli runners Marhu Teferi and Gashau Ayale earned a silver and bronze medal, respectively, in the individual competition. 

Kenyan-born Israeli runner Lonah Chemtai Salpeter won Israel’s fourth medal of the day, taking bronze in the 10,000 meter run and setting an Israeli record with her time of 30:36:37.

The 50th anniversary of the 1972 Munich Massacre

Israel’s impressive showing comes just weeks before the 50th anniversary of the 1972 Munich Massacre, during which the Palestinian terrorist group Black September murdered six Israeli coaches and five athletes after taking them hostage in the Olympic village. 

SCOUTS GUARD torches above the names of the 11 Israeli athletes murdered at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich by terrorists from the Black September movement, at the memorial ceremony in Tel Aviv. (credit: YA’ACOV SA’AR/GPO)SCOUTS GUARD torches above the names of the 11 Israeli athletes murdered at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich by terrorists from the Black September movement, at the memorial ceremony in Tel Aviv. (credit: YA’ACOV SA’AR/GPO)

“In Munich, after everything that happened here in history, to come back and win is something special,” Teferi said, according to Ynet.

As the anniversary approaches, the wounds remain fresh. All but one of the family members of the Israeli victims of the 1972 attack are planning to boycott a ceremony commemorating the victims in Munich next month. Ankie Spitzer, widow of the slain Israeli fencing coach Andrei Spitzer, said the families view Germany’s reported compensation offer as “a joke.” 

The European Championships is a quadrennial, multi-sport competition that was founded in 2018 and includes nearly 50 nations. Russia, which won the inaugural competition, was banned from this year’s event (along with Belarus) because of its invasion of Ukraine.