The 2012 Olympic Games mark the 40th anniversary of one of the most tragic events in the history of international competition. At the 1972 Olympics in Munich, 11 Israeli athletes were killed by a Palestinian terrorist organization known as Black September. Two athletes were killed initially and nine others were later killed after being taken hostage. Shortly after the hostages were taken, the Palestinians demanded that the 234 prisoners being held in Israeli jails be released. The nine hostages — along with five of the eight members in Black September — were killed during a failed rescue attempt.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) rejected Israel’s initial request to pay tribute to the athletes during the Opening Ceremony and has rejected several appeals since. IOC President Jacques Rogge simply explained that “the IOC has officially paid tribute to the memory of the athletes on several occasions.”
This has not pleased Bob Costas, who is planning to acknowledge the 40th anniversary of the tragic event when the Israeli national team enters the Olympic Stadium on Friday. Costas, who has never been shy about speaking his mind, described his plans to The Hollywood Reporter and called the IOC’s decision “baffling.”
“I intend to note that the IOC denied the request,” he explained. “Many people find that denial more than puzzling but insensitive. Here’s a minute of silence right now.”
It will be interesting to see how NBC reacts to the somewhat controversial move by Costas, but it certainly sounds like he is doing the right thing. A political disagreement cost 11 athletes their lives 40 years ago at the same event that is about to take place. It’s tough to imagine what the harm would be in acknowledging those victims.