Israeli widows lash out at IOC

Aug. 7, 2012 at 8:26 AM
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LONDON, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- The widows of two Israeli athletes killed in the 1972 Munich Olympics accused the International Olympics Committee of submitting to terror.

The two women are angry that the IOC did not schedule a moment of silence at the London Games' opening ceremony in memory of those slain in the terror attack 40 years ago.

In a memorial service held in London's Guild Hall on Monday night, Ankie Spitzer, whose husband Andre Spitzer, a fencing coach, was one of 11 Israeli athletes killed in the attack, accused the IOC of being interested in "power, money and politics," the Times of Israel reported Tuesday.

"Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only person left who still believes in Olympic ideals. ... . Is the IOC only interested in power, money and politics? Shame on you, IOC."

Ilana Romano, widow of weightlifter Yossef Romano, told IOC President Jacques Rogge, who was present at the ceremony: "Today, you submitted to terrorism. You will be written down on the pages of history as a former athlete who became a president who violated the Olympic charter that calls for brotherhood, friendship and peace."

Rogge, quoted in the Times of Israel, said, "We are all here today because we share the duty of remembering the victims and to make sure the lessons of 1972 are never forgotten."

Leading up to the London Olympics, the widows campaigned to hold a minute of silence at the opening ceremony. About 111,000 people signed a petition and U.S. President Barack Obama also expressed support, the Times said. Rogge and the IOC turned down their request.

Monday's memorial ceremony was organized by the National Olympic Committee of Israel, the Jewish Committee for the London Games and the Israeli Embassy in London. Among those attending were British Prime Minister David Cameron, London Mayor Boris Johnson, Israeli Minister of Culture and Sport Limor Livnat, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Rogge, the Times said.

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