Complaining that the Olympic movement is still ignoring their pain, Israelis marked the 40th anniversary of the Munich massacre on Sunday with a modest service in the atrium of a London apartment block.
Prayers were read for the 11 murdered Israelis, wreaths were laid for them and a plaque unveiled about four miles (six kilometers) from the Olympic Stadium.
However, there will be no minute of silence for them at Friday’s opening ceremony.
“The International Olympic Committee have a moral commitment to commemorate the 11 athletes, coaches and referees,” Israeli Olympic Committee secretary general Efraim Zinger said. “Not because they were Israelis, but because they were Olympians and were murdered during the Olympic Games.
“It’s been 40 years since that dreadful day and I hope that the day will come that the IOC will recognize all 11 athletes as victims and find the proper way to commemorate their memory.”
IOC President Jacques Rogge reiterated Saturday that the opening ceremony was not an appropriate arena to remember the dead despite pressure from politicians in the United States, Israel and Germany.
In talks over several years with Israeli officials, the IOC has not been able to agree to a suitable way of remembering the slain athletes at each games, according to Zinger.
“The frustrating fact is that until now, none of the alternative ways to commemorate was practiced,” Zinger said.
Rogge does plan to honor the dead at a reception in London during the games on Aug. 6. IOC officials will also attend a ceremony in Germany on the anniversary of the attack on Sept. 5 at the military airfield of Furstenfeldbruck, where most of the Israelis died.
The tranquility of the Munich Games was shattered in the second week when eight members of the Black September militant group penetrated the laxly secured Olympic Village and took Israeli team members hostage. A day later, all 11 were dead.
U.S. men win close one
Kevin Durant scored 27 points and the United States held on for a narrow 86-80 victory over Argentina in an exhibition game on Sunday in Barcelona, Spain.
The Americans got off to a hot start but their lead was down to four with 2:50 left after Manu Ginobili’s three-point play. But Durant and Chris Paul hit big 3-pointers as the U.S. won after being pushed for the second time in its four exhibition games.
Kobe Bryant added 18 points and LeBron James 15 for the U.S., which beat Brazil 80-69 in a similarly rugged game last week in Washington.
Ginobili scored 23 points, Carlos Delfino had 15 and Luis Scola 14 for Argentina.
Back in Barcelona, where the Dream Team won gold 20 years earlier, the U.S. players wore that team’s throwback uniforms.
The U.S. plays Spain on Tuesday, also in Barcelona.
American women cruise
Seimone Augustus and Diana Taurasi each scored 16 points to lead the U.S. women’s basketball team to an 80-61 victory over Turkey on Sunday night in an exhibition game in Istanbul.
It was the final tuneup for the Americans before the Olympics start next weekend.
Unlike the first three exhibition games that were easy routs, the U.S. struggled against its hosts. Buoyed by a spirited crowd, who booed and whistled every time the Americans touched the ball, Turkey hung tough with the top-ranked team in the world in the first meeting between the countries.
Turkey trailed 32-27 at the half and cut the deficit to one in the third quarter before the U.S. slowly pulled away.
Playing in Turkey served as a bit of a homecoming for six of the U.S. players, who have competed in the country during the WNBA offseason in the winter. Augustus, Tina Charles, Sylvia Fowles and Tamika Catchings have played for Galatasaray while Angel McCoughtry suited up for rival Fenerbahce.
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