The IOC president apologized on Wednesday for the body’s longstanding refusal to remember the 11 Israeli athletes massacred by Palestinian extremists at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
Two weeks after the president of Germany apologized for his nation’s shortcomings before, during, and after the attack at a memorial service in Germany, Thomas Bach addressed a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the tragic attack on the Munich Olympics in Tel Aviv.
At the Munich Olympic Games, the Palestinian group Black September assaulted the Israeli Olympic delegation on September 5, 1972, resulting in the deaths of 11 Israeli athletes and a police officer.
The athletes were “brutally killed in cold blood by a Palestinian terrorist organization just for being Jews, just because they were Israelis,” according to Israeli President Isaac Herzog.
The Olympic torch was extinguished at this very time, and the five-ringed flag was covered in blood, he continued.
The incident in Munich, according to Bach, was one of “the darkest days in Olympic history” and a violation of the Olympic Games principles.
He apologized for the long years it took the International Olympic Committee to remember the Israeli victims “in a respectful fashion” and said, “Everything that the Olympic Games represent was shattered 50 years ago with the tragic attack on the Israeli Olympic team.”
The first time the Olympic Games organizers had observed a moment of quiet in almost 50 years was during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games last year.
“I sincerely apologize for the suffering and distress we have caused,” Bach said.
After the Munich victims’ families threatened to boycott this year’s memorial service, the German government came to a deal last month to pay the families a total of 28 million euros (or $27.6 million) in compensation.