Despite the refusal of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to hold a moment of silence in commemoration of the Israeli athletes who were murdered at the 1972 Games in Munich, their memories and legacies continue to live on, guiding and inspiring today’s Jewish athletes.
On Sunday, approximately 30 members of the Italian Olympic team held their own moment of silence to remember the slain athletes outside the Israeli team’s quarters.
On Wednesday, Fabian Gilot, a member of France’s 4x100-meter freestyle swimming team that won the gold medal on Sunday, raised his arm in celebration after the win, revealing a tattoo in Hebrew that read, “I am nothing without them.”
The tattoo is a tribute to his grandmother’s Jewish husband, Max Goldschmidt, a Holocaust survivor who has greatly influenced his life, Gilot explained. Gilot himself is not Jewish and therefore is not affected by the Biblical halakhic prohibition against tattooing, so he was free to choose this way to identify with Jewish suffering.
While there is certainly no lack of anti-Israel or anti-Jewish sentiments at the Olympic Games -- whether in the form of a refusal to hold a Minute for Munich, boycotts, or Nazi salutes - there is also an encouraging wave of support from those who refuse to succumb to "politically correct" mantras delegitimizing the Jewish state.
American Jewish gymnast Aly Raisman reached the Olympics women's artistic gymnastics finals, stunning spectators by grabbing one of the two spots in the all-around individual finals for the U.S., while performing a floor exercise routine to the tune of “Hava Nagila.”
Gilot, too, along with the rest of the Jewish and Israeli athletes, continue to keep the memories of the Munich 11 -- and support for Israel -- alive and strong.