Why the IOC will never memorialize the ’72 Olympics
Recently, new information about the Munich Massacre at the 1972 Olympic Games was released by German police as a result of pressure from German investigative reporters. It was reported that the “Black September” terrorists were helped by a Nazi group in Germany to get fake IDs, weapons and access to the Olympic Village.
This was not too shocking, as the head of the IOC in 1972 was Avery Brundage, a Nazi sympathizer and anti-Semite. His protege, Juan Samaranch, eventually served the second longest IOC term as president, but his support of Nazis and the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco was kept a dirty secret. Most IOC members knew the truth but stayed silent because he organized a regal lifestyle for them — with money diverted from sport.
Another interesting fact is that Abu Iyad, one of the co-founders of the PLO, has said publicly that the reason “Black September” chose the 1972 Olympics as the stage for their hostage plot was because the PLO’s request to the IOC for inclusion of the Palestinian delegation at the Olympic Games was completely ignored. This snub from the IOC came at a time when tension was at a boiling point in the Middle East. Yet, having incited the PLO, the IOC denied the Israeli government’s request for security for the athletes.
In 1996, I, along with other Munich orphans and three of the widows, were invited for the first time to the Olympic Games in Atlanta. Before the Opening Ceremony, we met with Alex Gilady. Gilady has been a member of the IOC’s Radio and Television Commission since 1984 and has been the senior vice president of NBC Sports since 1996.
I have known Mr. Gilady since I was a kid; in fact, I grew up with his daughter. He had been supportive in the past regarding our plea for a moment of silence during the Opening Ceremonies, so we arrived with high hopes. Gilady informed us that a moment of silence was not possible because if the IOC had a moment of silence for the Israeli athletes, they would also have to do the same for the Palestinians who died at the Olympics in 1972.
My mother said, “But no Palestinian athletes died.”
Gilady responded, “Well, there were Palestinians who died at the 1972 Olympics.”
I heard one of the widows say to Gilady, “Are you equating the murder of my husband to the terrorists that killed him?”
Then Ilana Romano burst out with a cry that has haunted me to this day. She screamed at Gilady, “How DARE you! You KNOW what they did to my husband! They let him lay there for hours, dying slowly, and then finished him off by castrating him and shoving it in his mouth, ALEX!”
I looked at Gilady’s face as he sat there, stone cold with no emotion. This man knew these athletes personally. This man led the Israeli media delegation at the 1972 Olympics and saw this atrocity first hand. This man saw my father’s dead, naked body thrown out front of the Olympic Village for all the world to see.
Without a hint of empathy, Gilady excused himself from our meeting.
That’s when I understood that the IOC wasn’t turning us down because of their resistance to :politics.” Rather, it was due to the specific politics the IOC apparently still embraces. Based on its history of Nazi support, greed and the blood on their own hands for inciting the PLO, they would never support Israeli athletes.
Now, I have a message to all the members of the IOC. The torture inflicted by “Black September” on the 11 Israeli athletes and their families took 48 hours. Your torture of the families and the memories of those esteemed athletes has lasted 40 years. I am not satisfied with a moment of silence in every Opening Ceremony of the Summer Games. Now I want all of you to lose your jobs and be replaced by real Olympians who care about the athletes and believe in the Olympic charter.
The threat of the IOC coming after me does not scare me anymore. When you have no more dignity, you have nothing to lose. So, members of the IOC — my name is Guri Weinberg and I am the son of Moshe Weinberg, the wrestling coach murdered at the 1972 Olympics. And I am not going away.