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Students seek to honor slain Israeli athletes at London Olympics (ISRAEL HAYOM) Israel Hayom Staff 04/22/12)Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=4044 Israel Hayom Israel Hayom Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
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 Munich.

"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 of 1972.

However, the IOC has refused, claiming that the start of the Olympic Games is not the time or place for political statements.

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