The 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany started out like any other Olympic games in recent memory. The opening ceremony was cheerful, the host city was teeming with sports fans, and the games got off to a great start. However, tragedy struck a week and a half into the events. A Palestinian terrorist group broke into the Olympic Village and eventually killed 11 Israeli athletes. It was one of the most heartbreaking events in sports history, and it changed the Olympic games forever.
Palestinian terrorists stormed the Olympic Village in 1972 in Munich, Germany
The Summer Olympics have always been a source of elation for countries around the globe. In 1972, that’s exactly how it started in Munich, Germany. The first week went by swimmingly, but an unprecedented attack occurred in the middle of the games.
On Sept. 5, 1972, a group of Palestinian terrorists stormed the Munich Olympic Village and forced their way into the Israeli apartment. The group, which was a part of the organization called Black September, killed two athletes and took nine as hostages in the raid.
In return for releasing the hostages, the terrorists demanded the release of over 200 prisoners from jails in Israel. No side was willing to budge, so the hostage standoff lasted nearly 24 hours.
A shoot off resulted in nine more athlete deaths
After a 21-hour standoff, the Palestinian terrorists took the hostages to the Munich airport to flee. German snipers were ordered to take out the terrorists on the way to the plane, but the shoot off ended up killing all nine hostages.
All 11 Israeli athletes involved in the tragic attack died. The event became known as the Munich Massacre.
During the standoff, television channels broadcasted the terrorist attack, and 900 million people tuned in around the world. It was the first time a terrorist attack was broadcasted nationwide.
Germany set up a memorial service for the fallen Israeli athletes, but the Olympics continued a few days later.
The Munich Massacre changed the Olympic games forever
When the Palestinian terrorists raided the Olympic Village in 1972, all they had to do was hop a two-meter fence and break into the Israeli apartment. It wasn’t a complicated raid, and it most likely could’ve been prevented with tighter security measures.
After the tragic events that unfolded that summer, the Olympics cracked down on security. The security measures at every event since Munich in 1972 have ramped up in size and cost.
Security alone now costs hundreds of millions of dollars at each Olympic games. Fans can’t even attend the Olympics without intense security screening.
The measures may seem harsh, but no violent event has occurred since the Munich Massacre in 1972. Although it was a tragic day in Olympics history, it caused host countries at Olympic games to ramp up its security to make sure it never happened again.