Since the murder of 11 Israeli Olympians by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, the Jewish communities in most Olympic host cities have hosted a memorial ceremony in the victims’ memory.
On Sunday, it was Sochi’s turn.
On the second day of competition during the Winter Olympics, leaders of the Russian Jewish community, members of Sochi’s small Jewish community and Jewish visitors from abroad attended a commemoration event under the auspices of Sochi Jewry.
“When thinking about the history of Israeli athletes at the Olympics, we remember the Munich massacre,” said Berel Lazar, chief rabbi of Russia, according to The Jerusalem Post. “This is always a reminder that to be Jewish is sometimes not as convenient as we would like, but it depends on us to move forward, not to be ashamed.”
The Sochi Games did not include a moment of silence or other memorial to the slain Israelis; the International Olympic Committee was severely criticized two years ago for failing to officially memorialize the Israelis during the Opening Ceremonies of the Summer Games at Beijing.
Andrea Davidovich, a U.S.-born Israeli figure skater who was honored, with other members of the Israeli delegation, at the Sochi ceremony, said the Israeli athletes “feel like we are representing” the Israelis who died at Munich. “We have to all be together … and stand behind each other, because we’re Jewish and we are all a part of this community.”
In the early days of competition, two Jewish figure skaters — Jason Brown, singles; and Charlie White, pairs dancing — were part of the Team USA squad that won a bronze medal in the Olympics’ first-ever team skating event.