BY LEONARD GREENE, NYPOST—
It wasn’t a gloved-fist salute from the medal stand, but Jewish-American gymnast Aly Raisman made quite a statement yesterday by winning a gold medal and invoking the memory of the Israeli athletes killed 40 years ago in Munich.
Raisman 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.
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.
And if that weren’t enough, she won her event with the Hebrew folk song “Hava Nagila” playing in the background.
“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.”
Then Raisman stuck the landing.
“If there had been a moment’s silence,” the 18-year-old woman told the world, “I would have supported it and respected it.”
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.
Rogge was an athlete himself at the very Games where the massacre took place, representing Belgium on the sailing team.
“Even after 40 years, it is painful to relive the most painful moments of the Olympic movement,” Rogge said at an unaffiliated service before Spitzer spoke.