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Head of IOC Leads Moment of Silence for Munich 11 in Olympic Village

Jacques Rogge pays tribute to murdered Israeli athletes in short ceremony
By: David Shear
Published: July 23rd, 2012 in News » World
Head of the IOC, Jacques Rogge

While the International Olympic Committee (IOC) maintains that Friday’s opening ceremonies for the London Olympics will still not include a moment of silence to acknowledge and pay tribute to the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches murdered during the 1972 Munich Massacre, it seems that ongoing pressure has resulted in the next best thing.

A moment of silence to honour the “Munich 11” was held on Monday, July 23 in the Olympic Village, led by none other than the head of the IOC, Jacques Rogge. Along with some brief remarks after the moment of silence, the ceremony marked the first time that the death of the Israeli athletes has been officially dealt with in an Olympic Village.

"I would like to start today's ceremony by honoring the memory of 11 Israeli Olympians who shared the ideals and have brought us together in this beautiful Olympic Village" said Rogge. "The 11 victims of the Munich tragedy believed in that vision. They came to Munich in the spirit of peace and solidarity. We owe it to them to keep that spirit alive and to remember them."

But, not all who lived through the Munich Massacre are buying Rogge’s “ceremony”. In fact, Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano, two widows of Israeli athletes, called the ceremony nothing more than a public relations stunt, and called it "shameful." Both ladies plan to lobby the IOC again, calling for a proper acknowledgment during the opening ceremonies.

Despite ongoing pressure from such notables as US President Barack Obama and sports announcer Bob Costas, the IOC maintains its position that this year’s Olympics’ opening ceremonies is not the appropriate place to hold such a ceremony, but that the proposed Munich airport that will host it in September, is the proper venue.

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