American swimmer Mark Spitz won the gold medal at the 1972 Munich Olympics. This event is forever marked by a tragedy in which a terrorist murdered his 11 members of his Israeli Olympic team.
Spitz is also Jewish.
“Before the Olympics, I don’t think there was much talk about being a Jewish athlete. There was no talk at all, the stadium,” Spitz said ahead of the 50th anniversary of Monday’s attack.
“I think this was a great achievement from the modern era of that time. (…) To show that this is the new Olympics and this is what the world looks like today. The Olympics, this was supposed to happen. ”
The American athlete also felt it fell to him to talk about the tragic events that occurred during the games.
“So I was put in a unique situation. In a way, was I the spokesperson? For whom? I was not a rabbi and basically did not have the professional toolset or knowledge of many things to answer questions in the way that was expected of me at the time. , I did the best I could,” he said.
“Today, that’s the same answer. It’s a terrible tragedy, not only for the athletes, but for the Olympic Movement, especially families, and we still talk about it today.
Spitz later won seven Olympic gold medals at the Munich Games, showing his athletic agility and strength despite the terrorist attacks.