When Ankie Spitzer, widow of Andre Spitzer, stretched out her hands to Jacques Rogge, the International Olympic Committee president, and begged him to hold a minute’s silence, he refused. “My hands are tied” he said. “No,” Ankie replied: “Your hands are not tied. My husband’s hands were tied, so were here his feet, when he was murdered. That was having your hands tied.”
The IOC refuses to take one minute at today’s opening ceremony to mark the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches by the terrorist group Black September at the 1972 Munich Olympics. That simple human exchange tells us why the decision is shameful.
Mr Rogge is afraid of something. Of that there is no doubt. And his fear is stopping us Londoners showcasing two of our best traditions to the world: our refusal to be made afraid by terrorists and our willingness to stretch out our hands in solidarity to its victims. A minute of silence for those athletes held in this city would have been the moment of silence heard around the world.