Unprecedented memorial ceremony for 1972 Israeli Olympic team

For the first time ever, the Olympics' opening ceremony included a memorial ceremony for the murdered Israeli team.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

The Israeli delegation at the opening ceremony of the 2020 Olympics
The Israeli delegation at the opening ceremony of the 2020 Olympics
Amit Shissel, the Olympics Committee in Israel

A year late due to, and in the shadow of, COVID-19, the opening ceremony of the 2020 Olympic Games was held today (Friday) in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. The 32nd Olympics were supposed to take place in the summer of 2020, but were postponed after the outbreak of the virus. The games in Japan will be held without an audience and will end on August 8

The International Olympic Committee, which for years has vehemently opposed any memorial service in memory of Israeli athletes during the 1972 Munich Olympics in Germany, arguing that politics should not be involved in sports, has for the first time ever approved a moment of silence in the athletes' memory.

After each previous Olympics, the Israeli delegation has held a memorial service at the Israeli ambassador's house in the country where the Olympic Games are held and not in the Olympic Village, due to opposition from the Olympic Committee. This time, the massacre by Arab terrorists was mentioned in the official opening ceremony. The Israeli delegation was in tears at the news that the International Olympic Committee would allow a ceremony in memory of the martyrs.

The beginning of this change came at the Athens Olympics in 2004, when for the first time the president of the Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, was present at the 11th memorial ceremony for the victims.

During the London Olympics in 2012, the Israeli Embassy in London held a memorial service for the victims, which was attended by then-British Prime Minister David Cameron, and at the last Olympics, held in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, an official memorial service for the victims of the massacre was held for the first time in the Olympic village, along with the placement of a monument in their memory.

Immediately after the emotional moment of silence in memory of the 11 Israeli athletes, Israel's flag was hoisted in one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world, with Israel being one of 204 countries participating in the Games, its team among the 11,238 athletes competing. The Israeli flag was carried by jumper Hannah Knyazeva-Minenko and swimmer Yaakov Tomarkin.

One of the widows of the Munich victims, Ilana Romano, who is in the stadium, said that, "Justice has finally been done to the husbands, sons, and fathers who were murdered in Munich. We went through 49 years of struggles and never gave up. I can't stop my tears. We have been waiting for this moment."

Yigal Carmi, Chairman of the Israel Olympic Committee, said: "The International Olympic Committee fulfilled the wishes of the families of the 11 victims of Munich and the State of Israel, and boldly remembered the 11 victims of Munich at the opening ceremony tonight. The president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, has assured the 11th martyrs of Munich and the Olympic Committee of Israel that at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics the Olympic movement will be commemorated with the memory of the Munich victims after 49 years. We are deeply thankful."



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