Israeli coach Andrei Spitzer was one of those murdered at the 1972 Games. His widow, Ankie, explains why she is determined to see their memory finally honoured in London
The families' campaign for official remembrance began ahead of the Montreal Olympiad, which followed Munich, in 1976. "We asked for a minute's silence, or some commemoration, because it was natural in our eyes," says Spitzer. "But they told us very clearly: 'There are 21 Arab delegations that will leave if we say something about the Israeli athletes.' So I said: 'Let them leave if they can't understand what the Olympics are all about – a connection between people through sport.'"
The rejection has been repeated at every subsequent Olympiad. "The IOC says it's not in the protocol of the opening ceremony to have a commemoration. Well, my husband coming home in a coffin was not in the protocol either. This was the blackest page in Olympic history. These 11 athletes were part of the Olympic family, they were not accidental tourists. They should be remembered as part of the Olympic framework."
The current IOC president, Jacques Rogge, who was an athlete at the Munich Olympics, told Spitzer that rejecting the request had been his most difficult decision but his hands were tied. "I said: 'No – my husband's hands were tied, his feet were tied, to the furniture.'