A Palestinian terrorist (left) and the flags at half-mast in the Munich Olympic Stadium following the massacre of 11 members of the Israeli team at the 1972 Games

A sombre reminder today of the reason why security needs to be so tight at Olympic Games.

The 1972 Games in Munich were into their second week when, in the early hours of 5 September, Palestinian terrorists gained access to the Olympic village and killed two members of the Israeli team.

Nine more were taken hostage by members of the Black September group who were demanding the release of around 200 Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel.

Negotiations led to the terrorists taking the hostages, by helicopter, to a military airfield at F├╝rstenfeldbruck, where they believed they would be boarding a plane to Egypt.

But a police attempt to liberate the Israelis at the airfield was bungled and in the ensuing gun battle, all the hostages and one West German policeman were killed.

Five of the eight terrorists were also killed.

Olympic events were suspended and a memorial service was held at the Olympic Stadium where International Olympic Committee preisdent Avery Brundage declared: "the Games must go on".

And after a break of 34 hours, that is precisely what happened.

There were criticisms in the aftermath at the lack of security at the Games, of the way the West German police handled the liberation attempt and of Brundage's speech at the memorial.

Did you agree with Brundage's stance that the Olympics should continue and not give in to terrorism?

Peter Scrivener is a BBC Sport Journalist. Our FAQs should answer any questions you have.


or register to comment.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites