The IOC president steadfastly refused to allow this specifically-Olympic tragedy to be remembered during the ceremony solely because these were Israeli athletes. There is no other explanation. Full stop. For all that the Olympics means in the context of history, and mission of the games, this was a bewildering act of cowardice. Count Rogge should be ashamed, as should the entire IOC.
NBC, which broadcast the ceremonies to an estimated audience of nearly 35 million, should be proud, however, of commentator Bob Costas, who put Rogge and the IOC to shame as the 39-member Israeli Olympic team made its entrance into the Parade of Nations. There is much to criticize about NBC's opening ceremonies, but arguably, Costas provided the broadcast's finest moment.
"These games mark the 40th anniversary of the 1972 tragedy in Munich, when 11 Israeli coaches and athletes were murdered by Palestinian terrorists," Costas remarked as the 39-member Israeli Olympic team entered. "There have been calls from a number of quarters for the IOC to acknowledge that, with a moment of silence at some point in tonight’s ceremony. The IOC denied that request, noting it had honored the victims on other occasions. And, in fact, this week Jacques Rogge led a moment of silence before about 100 people in the athlete’s village. Still, for many, tonight, with the world watching, is the true time and place to remember those who were lost, and how and why they died."
Costas' comments were followed by a 12-second silence (very, very long in television time), before cutting away to commercial. It was simple, and something Costas was not obligated to do, yet his gesture was everything Rogge's shameful cowardice was not.