Catholic University of America students are spearheading a campaign
to honor 11 members of the Israeli team killed at the 1972 Munich
games with moment of silence • Olympic committee says games should
not be political.
A group of 61 students at the Washington-based Catholic University of
America is spearheading a campaign to persuade the International
Olympic Committee to consider holding a moment of silence during the
opening ceremony of this year’s Olympic Games in London to
commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 1972 tragedy at Munich, the
university´s news reported.
In 1972, terrorist group Black September broke into Connollystrasse
31, the apartment complex in the Olympic Village in Munich, Germany,
where the Israeli Olympic team was residing, taking hostage and
eventually killing 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team.
According to the university’s website, Dr. Leszek J. Sibilski, a
former member of the Polish National Olympic cycling team and now an
adjunct associate professor in the sociology department, supported
the idea of holding a moment of silence during the Olympic Games.
Sibilski and a team of students from his "Sociology of Sports" course
have worked hard on the campaign, which was first started by the
Israeli victims´ families and by those who survived the tragedy in
"I believe that this moment of silence is long overdue," Erin Flynn,
a theology major, told the university website. "For years, our
society has paid tribute to men and women who have lost their lives
under unexpected situations and it is time for us to honor the fallen
members of the athletic community. This initiative goes way beyond
our classroom in D.C. and it is time for the rest of the world to
join us and give these heroes one more minute of respect and dignity."
“Sept. 5, 1972 [is] a day which should always be remembered,”
Sibilski told the website. “The families of the slain Israeli
athletes and coaches and the survivors pleaded for a moment of
silence at the opening ceremony in one of the future Olympics, but
this has yet to happen. We are making sure that they are not
forgotten. For us, this is not about the political means, or whether
we hit our target and obtain the moment of silence. It is about the
journey. It’s important that we all learn from this experience, and
grow from it. All of my students learned about Munich for the first
time from this class."
In recent years, the victims´ families have urged the IOC to hold a
moment of silence during the opening ceremony – both to keep the
slain athletes’ legacy from fading and to offer some closure to the
families. The survivors and families of the slain athletes believe a
moment of silence will prevent the world from forgetting the events
However, the IOC has refused, claiming that the start of the Olympic
Games is not the time or place for political statements.