Posted by: Elena's Israel Blog | 09/02/2012


It wasn’t a gloved-fist salute from the medal stand, but Jewish American gymnast and three time Olympic medal winner Aly Raisman made quite a statement on August 7 by winning a gold medal and invoking the memory of the Israeli athletes killed 40 years ago in Munich. Dazzling the London Games with her Olympic gold-medal floor routine set to the crowd-pleasing “Hava Nagila” she finished first in the women’s floor exercise, but she deserves to have another medal draped around her neck for having the chutzpah to face the world and do what needed to be done and say what needed to be said. Responding to why she chose that song she said, “I am Jewish, that’s why I wanted that floor music,” she told the New York Post. “I wanted something the crowd could clap to, especially being here in London. It makes it even much more if the audience is going through everything with you. That was really cool and fun to hear the audience clapping.”

At the same Olympic Games where bigoted organizers stubbornly refuse to honor the slain athletes with a moment of silence, 18-year-old Raisman loudly shocked observers first by winning, then by paying her own tribute to 11 sportsmen who died long before she was born.

“Having that floor music wasn’t intentional,” an emotional but poised Raisman told reporters after her performance.“But the fact it was on the 40th anniversary is special, and winning the gold today means a lot to me.”

It was 40 years ago at the 1972 Munich Games that members of the Israeli Olympic delegation were taken hostage and eventually killed by Palestinian radicals. Executed in the massacre were 11 Israeli athletes and officials and a West German police officer. The martyrs were remembered this week during a London ceremony filled with sadness and reflection. But not a peep about them has been said publicly in the one place where it counts — at the Summer Games on Olympic soil. The International Olympic Committee and its president, Jacques Rogge, have refused to properly honor the dead, arguing that the opening ceremony wasn’t an appropriate forum for a moment of silence. But if the opening ceremony is good enough for James Bond and Mr. Bean, it’s hard to understand why it’s not good enough for 60 seconds of solitude.

“Shame on you International Olympic Committee because you have forsaken the 11 members of your Olympic family,” said Ankie Spitzer, whose husband, Andre, an Israeli fencing coach, was gunned down in the massacre. “You are discriminating against them only because they are Israelis and Jews,” she went on.

Aly Raisman has accepted an official invitation to visit Israel for the first time. The Jerusalem Post reported that the 18-year-old Jewish athlete, whose gold medal-winning floor routine was set to ‘Hava Nagila’, was invited, along with her family, by Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein.

taken from the New York Post, August 8, 2012

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