Miami Beach

Local philanthropist fails in effort to honor Munich dead at Olympic opening ceremony

Bal Harbour philanthropist Stanley Tate had one wish for the London Olympics — and he spent thousands of dollars on a one-man advertising campaign to make it come true.

By placing ads in major newspapers, Tate lobbied the International Olympic Committee to observe a minute of silence during this Friday’s Olympic opening ceremony in honor of the 40th anniversary of the murder of 11 Israeli Olympians in Munich in 1972 at the hands of Palestinian gunmen.

“It seemed only appropriate that after all these years of ignoring it, the IOC would honor these murdered athletes, something they have never done,” Tate said. “These athletes went to the Munich Olympics as the best-of-the-best and were killed inside the Olympic Village for representing Israel and for being Jewish.”

The horrible act played out on Sept. 5, 1972, and has been depicted in movies, documentaries and books. During an 18-hour ordeal, the athletes were taken hostage and then killed by their captors.

Tate, founder of the Florida Pre-Paid College Plan, said he spent “a lot of money,” buying the ad space during a three-day period starting Thursday. They appeared in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times and in Sunday’s The Miami Herald.

The black and white ad — which was designed by a firm hired by Tate — says Right the Wrong under an Olympic torch with this message:

“Forty years ago at the 1972 Munich Olympics, 11 Israeli Olympians were murdered. The families of the murdered athletes have requested a minute of silence at the opening ceremony of many Olympic events over the past four decades, but each time their request has been turned down.” The ad encouraged people to email the IOC and the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The ads were a last-ditch effort following appeals from the widows and relatives of the murdered athletes, he said. Even Miami congresswoman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Miami), who heads the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, had appealed to the IOC to honor the anniversary of the fallen athletes.

On Monday, Tate got his answer from the IOC: “They sent out a response saying a moment of silence during the opening ceremony was inappropriate,” said Tate. “I think this is so terribly wrong.”

There was one victory: NBC’s Bob Costas has said he will honor the athletes during the broadcast Friday. “It’s a nice gesture, but it’s not enough,” Tate said.

Related stories from Miami Herald

  Comments