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Munich 1972


Olympian2004
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It seems to me that the Munich 1972 didn't have a topic of its own in this section of the forum - so here we are, exactly to the day 50 years after the opening ceremony of Munich 1972: a tribute to the most recent Olympic Games in Germany. It is somewhat depressing that it is already half a century ago, and counting. The European Championships that took place during the past two weeks in and around Munich's Olympiapark (Olympic Park) sparked new interest in a German bid for the Olympic Games, but bearing in mind how German Olympic bids ended in the past 30 years, I'm still sceptical sadly whether Germany can pull that off against strong public opposition in times of a corrupt, greedy and oblivious IOC.

But that said, let's take a step back down memory lane to another time - seemingly more carefree and innocent, even if horrible things were about to happen during those, the "serene Games" of Munich 1972. Here is a great video I found today on Twitter, commemorating that sunny and mild Bavarian late summer day when the Games of the XX Olympiad opened. Enjoy some great pictures capturing the spirit of the summer of 1972, behind the scenes of an opening ceremony that back then stunned the world especially with its music for the parade of nations. You can hear some parts of that music in the video, too. The pictures were taken by a photographer who was accompanied by his son to the opening ceremony who now composed this video.

https://gerdhachmann.hamburg/wernerhachmann/reisen/deutschland/bayern/muenchen1972.mp4

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1 hour ago, Olympian2004 said:

It seems to me that the Munich 1972 didn't have a topic of its own in this section of the forum - so here we are, exactly to the day 50 years after the opening ceremony of Munich 1972: a tribute to the most recent Olympic Games in Germany. It is somewhat depressing that it is already half a century ago, and counting. The European Championships that took place during the past two weeks in and around Munich's Olympiapark (Olympic Park) sparked new interest in a German bid for the Olympic Games, but bearing in mind how German Olympic bids ended in the past 30 years, I'm still sceptical sadly whether Germany can pull that off against strong public opposition in times of a corrupt, greedy and oblivious IOC.

But that said, let's take a step back down memory lane to another time - seemingly more carefree and innocent, even if horrible things were about to happen during those, the "serene Games" of Munich 1972. Here is a great video I found today on Twitter, commemorating that sunny and mild Bavarian late summer day when the Games of the XX Olympiad opened. Enjoy some great pictures capturing the spirit of the summer of 1972, behind the scenes of an opening ceremony that back then stunned the world especially with its music for the parade of nations. You can hear some parts of that music in the video, too. The pictures were taken by a photographer who was accompanied by his son to the opening ceremony who now composed this video.

https://gerdhachmann.hamburg/wernerhachmann/reisen/deutschland/bayern/muenchen1972.mp4

Hey, Sueddeutsche has a historical „liveblog“ since yesterday:

https://sz.de/1.5644573

(international readers: it‘s in German sorry)

As for a future bid, there has been sime discussion in the „Rhine-Rhur (sic) 2036“ thread in connection with the Euro Champs.

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So today is the 50th anniversary of the darkest day in Olympic history.

Only last week, a final settlement between the German government and the victims‘ families was reached, after five decades of trying to cover up responsibilities and all the grave mistakes that were made on that tragic day.

There was a remembrance event in Fürstenfeldbruck, the airfield where it ended in a blood bath, with both the German and Israeli President in attendance. Steinmeier asked for forgiveness and the speaker of the families said that finally there was a closure after all these years.

An absolute disgrace that this took so long.

 

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Much has remained in the dark during this time. We must not allow this darkness to be followed by amnesia and indifference," Bach insisted during a commemorative event held at Furstenfeldbruck Airport, the place where an attempted rescue of Israeli athletes held hostage went tragically wrong in the small hours of the morning exactly 50 years ago today.”

“Bach’s message echoed that of the German State President Frank Walter Steinmeier who had earlier called for full disclosure.“

 

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It is actually sort of funny that in all the reports in German media I read about yesterday‘s ceremony (or in the lead up to the anniversary), there was not a single mention anywhere of Fencing 1976. I wasn‘t even aware he was there yesterday.

Also tells you something about his standing here.

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“5 September 1972 was the darkest day in Olympic history. What began so peacefully and joyfully ended in inconceivable suffering. We share the pain of the relatives of the 11 Israeli victims and the German policeman. To this day, that barbaric attack fills us with horror, shame and disgust,” IOC President Bach said in his speech.”

 

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“The leadup to the ceremony was tense as the victims’ families threatened to boycott it due to lack of proper compensation from the German government.”

“On Friday the German government and the families agreed to compensation of 28 million Euros, with the federal government contributing 22.5 million Euros, the state of Bavaria owing five million Euros and the Munich administration making up the remaining 500,000 Euros.”

“During his speech Bach reminded those in attendance Israel has participated in every Olympic Games since 1972.“

 

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Today, September 11, 2022, marks several historic dates: The 9/11 attacks took place 21 years ago; 49 years ago, Chile's president Salvador Allende was toppled in a military coup and committed suicide, leading to the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet; today in 2022, Queen Elizabeth II has left her beloved Balmoral Castle for the final time, with her coffin being taken from there towards Edinburgh and London; and 50 years ago today, the originally "serene Games" of Munich 1972 came to a close.

The closing ceremony was much more somber and took one day later than originally planned, with the Bavarian dancers in their traditional costumes who were scheduled to perform standing in silence and a moment of silence for the victims of the atrocious terrorist attack on Israel's Olympic team six days before. A inflatable rainbow spanning along the perimeter of the Olympic Stadium lit up the night sky. To the sorrowful sounds of trumpets the Olympic Flame was extinguished. Only during the entrance of the athletes of all nations which were still present in Munich (the teams of Israel, Egypt, Algeria and Philippines had flown home after the terrorist attack) and after the official end of the closing ceremony, there were still some joyous moments with the athletes dancing on the infield to the sounds of Beethoven's Ode to Joy and a pop arrangement of the Munich 1972 fanfare.

I hope you can open this video also from other countries than Germany - but here is some footage of that closing ceremony, starting at minute 09:38:

Report made in 1997 by Bavarian public broadcaster BR about the closing day of the Munich 1972 Games

So this marks the end of the 50 year anniversary of the Munich 1972 Games. And even if it is under much different conditions, the anniversary ends on a much more somber note than how it began, just like the Munich 1972 Games themselves. Back then, much of the originally happy and festive mood had gone after the senseless kidnapping and killing of the Israeli hostages. Now, the world is mourning Queen Elizabeth II which already had spent 20 years on the throne by the time that her husband Philip and her daughter Anne travelled to the Games of Munich. Four years later, Princess Anne would perform in the equestrian events of Montreal 1976, Games in a much less innocent and naive atmosphere, with heavy security measures, especially for the Israeli Olympic team.

Munich 1972 presented a seismic shift in how the world perceived the conflicts in the Middle East and international terrorism. After the disastrous attempt to free the Israeli hostages at Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base, Germany formed the GSG-9 special unit which was successful in freeing the passengers and crew members aboard the Lufthansa plane "Landshut" which was kidnapped and abducted by Palestinian terorrists to Mogadishu in Somalia in October of 1977. 24 years after Mogadishu, the world got to know a whole new monstrous dimension of terrorism when the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked - 29 years to the day after the final moments of Munich 1972.

It shows that we have to learn from historic experiences - and history keeps repeating itself, not always, but astonishingly often. I sincerely hope that we still strive to become a better humanity and to live in peace. Because then, the eleven Israeli athletes and coaches who lost their lives during the Munich 1972 Games have not died in vain. I dedicate this tribute to them and even if I wasn't even alive back then, I am deeply sorry that my home country Germany did not enough to protect or at least finally save their lives. It was a terrible mistake, born out of incredible naiveté and arrogance on the organisers' and politicians' part.

Munich 1972 had the potential of becoming marvellous Olympic Games, much lighter, more open, less martial than the Berlin 1936 Games. In the end, the organisers' negligence led to another Olympic catastrophe on German soil. It remains to be shown whether Germany will ever host Olympic Games again and then finally pull off a truly happy, secure and successful edition of the Games. 50 years later, this is still a dream unfulfilled.

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