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Forty Years Since Munich -- Remembering the Massacre

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by 21, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. 21

    21 Well-Known Member


    I don't know how many here have personal memories of that horrible day in 1972, when 11 Israeli Olympians were slaughtered by Palestinian gunmen.

    Until 9/11, it was probably the most terrifying day of my life.

    The IOC has refused to formally commemorate the anniversary, and NBC's Bob Costas has said he will honor the athletes on-air with a moment of silence. NBC says that is still under discussion.


    Any thoughts on any of this?
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  2. Huggy

    Huggy Well-Known Member

    I was seven and it might be my earliest TV memory. Even if I had no idea what was going on watching the masked terrorists on the balconies scared the hell out of me.

    Later on I learned much more about it reading Howard Cosell's book Cosell on Cosell which included a chapter on it.
  3. Amy

    Amy Well-Known Member


    As I said on another thread, anything that the IOC did would be so empty and false I was totally OK with their decision to do nothing. Rogge definitely managed to come up with the empty gesture.
  4. Dyno

    Dyno Well-Known Member

    I was only 4, but I do have vague memories of it. To say I enjoyed the book and documentary "One Day in September" would be the wrong word choice, but they were fascinating, sad and totally worthwhile. No matter how many times I see the footage of Jim McKay saying "They're all gone," I get the chills (just got them while typing this).
  5. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    I was 14 riveted to the TV. Still remember vividly Jim McKay coming on saying "their gone, their all gone"

    I would be very disappointed if NBC does not let Bob Costas follow through with his plan.
  6. goalmouth

    goalmouth Well-Known Member

    Rogge apparently channeling Avery Brundage. In a world of change, at least we count on the IOC twice a day, like a broken clock.
  7. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    I'm hoping Costas tells NBC to shove it. What are they going to do, fire him and bring in Ann Curry?
  8. NoOneLikesUs

    NoOneLikesUs Active Member

    Israeli contingent could do something. Maybe stop walking for 11 seconds or something like that.
  9. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    I know Costas' heart is in the right place, but the more I think of it, it feels like he's grandstanding. I know journalistically I'd be uncomfortable, but it's TV ... still ...
  10. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    NBC's Olympic coverage finds a way to poke around in every little crappy story imaginable. Why, as a news organization, can't it acknowledge this? If IOC wants to pretend it didn't happen, why does NBC have to defer?
  11. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    I've got no problem with a story. It's one of those I hope they sic Tom Brokaw or Brian Williams on. But holding a moment of silence during the broadcast seems like the stuff of the cable gabfests.
  12. rmanfredi

    rmanfredi Active Member

    So random pieces about Munich massacre and particularly ABC's coverage of it, based on what I remember from reading Jim McKay's biography and watching "One Day in September" several times. You guys might already know a lot of this, so apologies for rambling in advance.

    - Jim McKay wasn't the lead anchor of the 1972 Summer Olympics - that was Chris Schenkel. Roone Arledge decided to bring McKay in - who was mainly covering track and field in Munich - for a couple of reasons. He knew that McKay had the gravitas and credibility with viewers from his time anchoring "Wide World of Sports" to handle something outside of the realm of pure sports. In addition, he knew that McKay's reporting background would be an asset - McKay had started out as a crime reporter at the Baltimore Sun before transitioning to sports and eventually to television.

    The famous story is that when Arledge called McKay's hotel room to summon him into the studios to handle the coverage, his wife answered and said that Jim was in the pool relaxing. Arledge told her to make sure her husband got down there as fast as possible. After 14 straight hours of reporting - through the deaths of the hostages - McKay went back to the hotel to go to sleep. When he got undressed, he realized that he still had his swim trunks on - he was in such a hurry and so focused that he just through his clothes on over his wet trunks.

    - Peter Jennings was ABC's Middle Eastern correspondent at the time. The network had invited him to Munich as a reward and a "vacation" from the heavy coverage he had been doing. Of course, he wound up getting pressed into action and was incredibly important to the coverage - he was the first person to guess that the attacks were the work of the "Black September" organization. Jennings was also able to sneak into the Italian team's headquarters next to where the Israelis were being held hostage and stay behind after the police cleared the building out by hiding in the bathroom. With his phone, Jennings was able to rely first-hand accounts of the scene to McKay and the ABC viewers.

    - Another person on the inside was ABC producer John Wilcox, who also managed to get inside the sealed-off area. Wilcox would report to Jennings via walkie-talkie - Jennings would hold that to his phone to relay information about what was happening. No one told Wilcox that what he was saying was going out live at first, which led to McKay having to tell Wilcox off-air not to refer to the terrorists as "Ay-Rabs".

    - The Germans were set to deploy a strategy where snipers on nearby rooftops would attempt to pick off the terrorists before they left the compound. ABC's cameras picked up several of them - dressed as athletes in team sweatsuits - moving along the rooftops. However, there was a belief that the terrorists had seen the movements on TVs they had turned to German TV, so the authorities called off that plan and decided on the ill-fated ambush at the airport.

    - Howard Cosell was also part of ABC's coverage of the events, although he was restricted to covering events on the ground as Arledge didn't think he could handle the pressure of conducting a live broadcast like McKay. The other issue was Cosell's drinking, which came to a head when Cosell stormed the production studio to demand to Arledge and Don Ohlmeyer and others that he be put on the air when it became clear that the hostages had been killed. Cosell had gone to an ABC-lead cocktail party earlier that night, where early reports were that the hostages had been freed - and had gotten loaded. Alredge knew Cosell had been drinking and kept him off the broadcast.
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