IOC Group Will Go to Munich, Mark 1972 Israeli Athlete Slayings

International Olympic Committee head Jacques Rogge said he’ll lead a delegation to an airbase in Munich to mark the day when 11 members of the Israeli team were murdered by terrorists 40 years ago.

Speaking in London today, Rogge, said he didn’t think a moment of silence at this summer’s games in London was appropriate to mark the 1972 killings, probably the worst event in Olympic history. The U.S. and Canadian governments were among those to express support of Israel’s call for a period of silence at the July 27 opening ceremony.

“The opening ceremony is an atmosphere that isn’t fit to remember such tragic events,” Rogge said at a news conference in the Olympic Village. He said IOC officials will travel in September to Furstenfeldbruck airbase, where the majority of hostages were killed.

A group of Israelis that included five athletes and six coaches were kidnapped from the athletes’ village by the Palestinian Black September group on Sept 5. Nine of them, along with a German police officer, were killed during a failed rescue attempt at the Munich airport. Two hostages were killed at the village.

The fate of the hostages was beamed into the homes of millions of television viewers around the world. The games continued after being suspended for a few hours during the crisis.

Rogge said the IOC would pay a “very strong homage and remembrance” to the dead by traveling to Germany on exactly the same date as the massacre.

The IOC president also was asked what he thought about the potential of Egyptian athletes pulling out of events if they were paired with Israeli opponents. Rogge said any snub wouldn’t be tolerated.

He said athletes would be assessed by the IOC’s medical team and if they were not deemed to be injured or ill they would be punished, because refusing to compete against another country is “forbidden by the Olympic Charter.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Tariq Panja at the Olympic Park in London at tpanja@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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