Sports are activities meant to appraise talent, entertain the fans and most importantly bring people of different nationalities, races, and fanatic sides together. Among the many sporting activities include soccer, football, and rugby, Olympics among other indoor and outdoor activities. 1972 was never a different era like the one we exist within, and the sports held a similar effect on the hearts and minds of people. However, something makes this Olympic stand out among the many others, and it's not about the participants, the records were broken or made, even though some were, and neither was it about the antique nature of the Olympic stadium. This is a memorable day for those who were present, those who were affected directly or indirectly, and similarly, to those of us who get the narrations as a generational tradition. The 17th modern Olympics games held in Munich commenced in August 26th and concluded on 11th September, but not all that happened within this Olympic-expected period was according to the books (Cosgrove&Bhowmick2013). Eight Palestinian terrorists found a way into the stadium fully capacitated with thousands of audiences, spectators, Olympic officials and the competitors, and instantly turned the joyous moment of sport into a memorial moment accompanied with a somber mood, and protests.
On the morning of 5th September 1972, the Palestinian terrorists attacked the Olympic village occupied by Israeli athletes where they killed two of the athletes and took other nine as hostages. Was it just a terror attack from demonic members of the society? It seems not. The hostages acted as leverage for the Palestinian attackers, apparently and maybe ironically members of the terror group Black September. The main reason for this attack that was explicitly directed towards the Israelis was to coerce or intimidate the Israel government to release the 230 Arab prisoners held within their prisons among them 200 Palestinians (Montague, 2012). They also demanded the release of two German terrorists while at it. The Olympics, at this time, was paused for twenty-four hours to hold a memorial service for those who succumbed to the attack, and after the service, the then president of the international Olympic committee, Avery Brundage announced the commencement of the Olympics. To pile up the mess already incurred, protests arose from the president's decision for the commencement of the Olympics with still nine of the Israeli held hostage. The aftermath of the attack was a tight security protocol put up in every Olympic village and venue. This action or instead reaction no-doubted ensured the security of the audiences and athletes, but it most definitely killed the open and festive atmosphere the audiences previously enjoyed.
Aside from the dark hours of the Olympic timeline, the events resumed, and there were around 7000 participant athletes from 122 countries. The competitions, even though punctuated with minor protests over scheduling complications, equipment, and other track incidences, went on with notable victories and to other disappointing loses. Valery borzon, a Soviet sprinter won the 100-and-200 meter runs, a Finland athlete Lasse Viren held a gold medal for the 5,000-and-10,000 meter runs, and an American Mark Spitz won seven gold medals, among many other outstanding performances (History.com staff, 2009). The outcomes of the events were not welcome by all groups and most of the decisions filled with bias. The officials, for instance, extended a basketball match by three seconds, allowing the Soviets to grab a victory of 51-50 against the United States. The latter, feeling, and believing that the game was unfair, boycotted the victory ceremony, refused their silver medals and later on filed for an official protest.
While the competitions were going on, eleven of the Israeli team, five athletes, and six coaches could not attend as two of them were already dead, and nine were held, hostage. The talks to resolve the conflict and rescue the hostages hit rock bottom and the terrorists were now attempting to get the hostages out of German (Sanchez, 2015). At the Munich airport, the German policemen opened fire to the terrorists killing three of the terrorists. This killings then prompted an open fire between the terrorists and the policemen, resulting in the deaths of all the hostages, one policeman, and two more Palestinian terrorists. "They're all gone," is a phrase that struck many aback, and a game changer for the Israeli team. The Israel government, although in denial, are said to have hunted down the Black September terror group and brought them down.
For an event set for the joyful participation of citizens around the world, and the successful recognition and appraisal of talents, the unexpected and traumatizing terrorist attack maimed the entire function with confusion, panic, and death. The organization of the fields, equipment, and schedules spurred disagreements and protests, and the same applied to the final results of the competitions. However, even amidst the chaos and terror, victory was pronounced by many of the competitors, and some if not many of the fanatics and audiences sang to their anthems, and proudly camouflaged within their flag colors. The '72 Olympics will always remain in the books and hearts of many, and a painful reminder to a few.
Cosgrove Ben &, BhowmickN. (2013). Terror at the Olympics: Munich, 1972. Time. http://time.com/24489/munich-massacre-1972-olympics-photos/
History.com staff (2009). Massacre begins in Munich. A+E Networks. History.com. Date of access July 16 2018. https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/massacre-begins-at-munich-olympics
Montague James (5 September 2012). "The Munich massacre: A survivor's story". CNN. Retrieved 25 February 2013.https://edition.cnn.com/2012/07/27/sport/olympics-2012-munich-shaul-ladany-survivor
Sanchez Raf (2015). Horrific new details emerge about the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre. The telegraph. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/12028765/Horrific-new-details-emerge-about-the-1972-Munich-Olympics-massacre.html
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