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Italian Olympic Team Commemorates Munich Massacre

About 30 Italians, including Minister of Sport, stand in silence at the entrance to Israeli team's quarters.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 7/29/2012, 8:16 PM

The Italian Olympic team at the London Olympic Games made a noble gesture Sunday and stood in silence outside the quarters of the Israeli team, in memory of the 11 athletes slain in the Munich Olympics 40 years ago, Voice of Israel radio reported Sunday.

About 30 Italians were present at the ceremony, including Italy's Minister of Sport, the heads of the Italian Olympic Committee and athletes. Israeli Olympic Committee head Tzvi Varshaviak and Olympic delegation leader Efraim Zinger also took part.

According to an unverified report on the internet, the pilot and crew of a British airliner headed for Israel Thursday did what the Olympics Committee refused to do, and observed a moment of silence in memory of the Israel athletes murdered in Munich in 1972.

The "USA Stands with Israel" Facebook page, with over 10,000 subscribers, reported that the heartwarming gesture was made by a pilot for EasyJet, on a flight headed from the firm's home base of Luton, England, to Tel Aviv.

"The pilot came on the intercom and informed the passengers that the crew will be observing a minute of silence as they fly over Munich and he invited the passengers to join them in remembering the Israeli sportsmen who were murdered there at the Olympic Games 40 years ago," according to the report.

Despite the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) refusal to hold a minute of silence to commemorate the 11 Israeli athletes who were tortured and murdered 40 years ago at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, NBC sportscaster Bob Costas led his own, improvised, tribute as the 2012 Israeli athletes walked into Olympic Stadium Friday.

"For many, tonight with the world watching, is the true time and place to remember those who were lost and how and why they died," he said. Following his comments, Costas went silent for five-seconds before the show cut to a commercial break.

A short ceremony was also held at Israel’s embassy in London on Friday, followed by a global minute of silence.