IOC president rejects pleas for official commemoration of ’72 Munich Olympic Games killings, at London curtain raiser.
LONDON – The IOC has ruled out marking the 40th anniversary of the Munich massacre at the London Olympics opening ceremony but will visit the airfield where some Israeli team members were killed, it said on Saturday.
International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge rejected calls for an official commemoration of the 1972 Munich Games attack during Friday’s curtain raiser, a standing request of the families of the 11 Israeli Olympic team members who died.
Rogge said there would be the traditional private commemoration with the Israeli Olympic Committee and the IOC but no minute’s silence at the opening of the Games.
“We are going to pay a homage as we have done in the past and will do in the future. That is what we are going to do,” Rogge told reporters.
“We feel that we are able to give a very strong homage and remembrance within the sphere of the national Olympic committee,” he added. “We feel that the opening ceremony is an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic incident.”
Family members of the athletes, coaches and officials who were killed by Palestinian gunmen during the Munich Olympics have tried for four decades to persuade the IOC to organize an official commemoration.
Their calls were backed in recent days by U.S. President Barack Obama as well as other politicians around the world.
Rogge said the IOC would visit on Sept. 5 the airfield of Fuerstenfeldbruck near Munich, 40 years after the botched operation by German forces to end the standoff led to the death of more hostages as well as police and black September gunmen.
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