Munich Olympics Open – August 26, 1972
The Munich Olympics opened on August 26, 1972.
The following day, Shirley Povitch wrote in the Washington Post:
It was a smashing effort by the opulent city-state of Munich, only seven miles from the Dachau of foul memory, to compensate for Germany’s remembered sins of that era. For the crowd of 80,000 in Olympische Stadion and almost one billion television viewers around the world, Munich wheeled out its best Bavarian manners, and Gemutlichkeit was rampant. Peace, love and joy were the motif of the ceremonies. From on high in Bonn descended the order to stomp any military note, and even army officers detailed to help with the administration had orders to wear civilian clothes. After the parades, 3,200 boys and girls of Munich, aged 10-14, serenaded the 7,000 athletes before the Olympic flame was lighted. This was a switch from 1936 when thousands of Hitler Youth, shouting the glories of Nazi Germany, attended the Olympics in Berlin, and 40,000 helmeted storm troopers lined an avenue for the entrance of their Fuehrer. The Germans were on their good behavior today, and thinking of everything. They gave the opening ceremonies a script unmatched by any previous Olympics, even to edging the entire stadium with the pale, robin’s-egg blue uniforms of the thousands of hostesses and Olympic workers framed against the 360-degree skyline. The joyful skip-dances of Munich’s children were tasteful affairs as they brandished their flower wreaths woven with halo effects.
Opening day at the Munich Olympics wasn’t all sweetness and light. Twenty members of the Rhodesian team (Rhodesia is now known as Zimbabwe.) watched the ceremonies from the stands. Their team was “uninvited” four days before the start of the games.
Rhodesia has been thrown out of the Olympic Games with just four days to go before the opening ceremony in Munich, Germany.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted by 36 to 31 with three abstentions to recommend Rhodesia’s expulsion in the face of mounting international pressure. Two days ago the National Olympic Committees of Africa threatened to pull out of the games unless Rhodesia was barred from competing.
The African nations were demanding Rhodesia’s expulsion on the grounds the country was an illegal regime and members of its team were not therefore British subjects. Read more, BBC.com
There was also a March against the War in Vietnam The LA Times reported:
About 5,000 anti-Vietnam War protestors marched through Munich Saturday.
The demon strators, armed with clubs hidden beneath their jackets and holding masks and helmets, marched behind a banne r. It read, “Two Faces of Imperialism— Genocide in Vietnam and a Peace Show in Munich.”
Special trains and buses had brought the protestors from various areas of Germany.
And of course among the 7,000 athletes who marched into the Olympic Stadium, were several Israeli team members who were massacred by terrorists, 10 days after the opening ceremonies.