Many people around the world are puzzled and outraged by the decision of the International Olympic Committee (“IOC”) not to authorize any remembrance for the Israeli athletes killed by terrorists at the 1972 Munich games. The IOC justifies its refusal to approve even a moment of silence on the ground that it would be “political” to do so, something the Olympic movement abjures.
The IOC’s view, of course, is nonsense. In effect, it is the terrorists who are rewarded, intimidating the civilized world even forty years after their acts of murder. The Israeli athletes killed in 1972 were in Munich not for political purposes, but to compete in the spirit of the Olympic games. Honoring their memories would be a tribute to that very spirit, the farthest thing from politicizing the games.
Nonetheless, the IOC’s decision appears final. ABC Sports, through its announcer Bob Costas, will pause for a moment of silence when the Israeli team enters the Olympic stadium in London. But is there anything else that can be done?
When the Israeli athletes come into the stadium, they should pull out of the line of march, so as not to disrupt others, lower their national flag, and bow their heads for a minute of silence. Teams from other nations, hopefully including the United States, should also pull out of the line of march (even if they have not yet entered the stadium), and do the same.
When the minute of silence has ended, the Israeli athletes should raise their flag and charge back into their place in the order of march. The other teams that joined them can do likewise. The IOC doesn’t have to do a thing. Let the athletes speak for themselves through their own silent memorial.