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Olympic opening ceremony honors Israeli athletes killed at 1972 Munich Olympics

It's the first time the tragedy was recognized at an opening ceremony.
/ Source: TODAY

The opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics featured an acknowledgment of the Israeli athletes killed by terrorists at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, marking the first time the murders were mentioned in an opening ceremony.

“As we join together here in the Olympic Stadium, across Japan and around the world, let us all take a moment to remember all those friends and loved ones who are no longer with us, in particular because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the announcer said.

Tokyo 2020 - Opening Ceremony
A notice for a moment of silence appeared on screens at Olympic Stadium.Michael Kappeler / picture alliance via Getty Images

“They will forever have a special place in our hearts. We, the Olympic community, also remember all the Olympians and members of our community who have so sadly left us.

“In particular, we remember those who lost their lives during the Olympic Games. One group still hold(s) a strong place in all our memories and stand for all of those we have lost at the Games: the members of the Israeli delegation at the Olympic Games Munich 1972.”

First lady Jill Biden was among those in attendance who observed a moment of silence.Dylan Martinez / AFP via Getty Images

The ceremony then shifted to a dancer’s performance during the creative portion of the event before the announcer continued.

“For all those we have lost, we invite everyone around the world to respect a moment of silence, wherever you are,” he said. “And for all of us here in the stadium, we invite you to stand for this moment of silence.”

Loading Caskets of Murdered Olympians onto Plane
Armed guards stand by as caskets containing the bodies of Israeli Olympic athletes are loaded aboard a plane for flight to Tel Aviv following their murders at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.Bettmann Archive

Members of the Palestinian terrorist group Black September stormed the Olympic Village during the Munich Games, killing two Israeli athletes and taking nine others as hostages. The hostages were later killed during an airport shootout.

Five terrorists and a policeman from West Germany were also killed. Competition across all Olympic sports was postponed for 24 hours to hold services for those who died.

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Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency would later kill the Black September assassins, an effort that would later be documented in Steven Spielberg’s 2005 movie “Munich.”

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