The Olympic movement is supposed to be a friendly, international competition among amateur athletes, like a giant party where everybody plays games.
“Supposed to be” and reality are a long way apart.
The Olympics have long been a stage for the geopolitical arguments of the day to be played out before the world.
Perhaps the most blatant example occurred 40 years ago.
The year was 1972. The leaders of what was then-West Germany were trying to use the Olympics to erase the stain of the 1936 games, which were turned into a giant commercial for Nazism.
When the orgy of killing that was World War II was over, the same Nazis had murdered more than six million people, most of them Jews.
Instead of washing away the Nazi stain, 1972 will be forever known as the year the Palestinian terror group Black September kidnapped part of the Israeli Olympic team in Munich. They murdered their captives when the West Germans botched a rescue attempt.
The late sportscaster Jim McKay will always be remembered for his comment at the time: “They’re all gone.”
During the spectacular opening ceremonies of the 2012 games in London, England, the International Olympic Committee refused to honor the Israelis with a brief, simple, dignified moment of silence.
The IOC has its reasons for denying the moment of silence. They may fear offending the countries of the world where surviving members of Black September were hailed as heroes. They may fear reprisals in the form of suicide bombers blowing themselves up at Olympic events.
If that’s the case, the IOC needs a big dose of courage.
To give in to terrorists is to tell the world that if you kill enough people in front of enough television cameras, you’ll get what you want.
Black September was not a band of freedom fighters. They were not patriots. They were not heroes. Their fight wasn’t with three weightlifters, two wrestlers, and six coaches, judges and referees.
Put in modern parlance, the IOC should man up, and hold the moment of silence.
The IOC should no longer pretend the Munich Massacre, that spoiled the Olympics forever for many, never happened.