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The Modern Olympics

1972 -- Munich, Germany
7,156 athletes, 122 nations

The 1972 Games were tragic and they changed international sports forever. On the morning of September 5th, eight Palestinian terrorists climbed the fence surrounding the Athletes Village and broke into apartments housing Israeli athletes. They shot and killed two Israelis immediately, and took nine others hostage. The terrorists demanded freedom for over 200 Palestinian and two German prisoners held on terrorist charges in Israel.

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Four hours after the hostage taking the terrorists threw a body of one of the Israelis out of an apartment to show their determination. After a day of negotiations, officials allowed the terrorists to take their hostages by helicopter to a German military airfield. The officials planned a rescue mission, but it was mismanaged. In the end five of the terrorists, all nine of the hostages and a German police officer were dead. The three remaining terrorists were captured.

After some deliberation, the IOC decided the Games should continue. The remaining events of the afternoon were cancelled and a memorial service was held the next day. The tragedy caused the IOC to step up security at future Olympic Games.

The hero of the Games was American swimmer Mark Spitz who won seven gold medals and set seven world records.

Canadian Highlights: Bruce Robertson and Leslie Cliff won silver medals in the 100m butterfly and 400m individual medley, respectively. The men's 4x100m freestyle relay team placed third. Backstroker Donna-Marie Gurr and Canada's solo-class yachting team also won bronze medals.

Medal Count: Gold 0, Silver 2, Bronze 3

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