Aly Raisman, Olympic Gymnast, Honors ‘Munich 11’ And Her Jewish Heritage After Winning Gold
Aly Raisman was not alive when the Black September Palestinian militant group infiltrated the Olympic Village at the 1972 Munich Games, but on Tuesday, the 18-year-old gymnast said she would have supported a moment of silence in their honor.
In light of the 40th anniversary of the tragedy — which resulted in the death of 11 athletes and coaches — relatives and supporters of the Munich victims had redoubled their efforts to have a moment of silence observed during the opening ceremonies in London.
But in a decision that drew widespread criticism, International Olympic Committee President Jaques Roggue refused to allow any such remembrance, announcing in May that the “IOC has officially paid tribute to the memory of the athletes on several occasions,” and would not be doing so in London, according to USA Today.
However, after Raisman mounted the podium to accept her individual gold medal in the women’s floor exercises Tuesday, she showed maturity and poise as she addressed the Munich controversy head on.
‘If there had been a moment’s silence,’ Raisman said, ‘I would have supported it and respected it,” the New York Post notes.
For many, the gymnast’s routine, which was performed to the traditional Hebrew folk tune, ‘Hava Nagila,’ added an extra layer of poignancy.
‘Having that floor music wasn’t intentional,’ Raisman told reporters. ‘But the fact it was on the 40th anniversary is special, and winning the gold today means a lot to me.’
Also Mazal Tov to Gabby Douglas, Alison Felix, Misty & Kerri!