The image is seared in our collective memory: an armed and hooded figure peering over a dormitory balcony in Munich, Germany, the setting for what remains the bloodiest incident in Olympic history.

It began in the predawn darkness of Sept. 5, 1972, when eight members of the Palestinian terrorist group Black September scaled the wire fence surrounding the Olympic Village and burst into the apartments housing the Israeli contingent--fatally shooting two athletes before taking hostage nine more. Much of the excruciating and often surreal 20-hour stalemate that followed was played out live on television, an eerie prelude to last week's onscreen...

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