Wednesday, Mar. 04, 2009

Black September

The Olympics have never experienced a darker day. During the 1972 Munich Games, the Palestinian militant group Black September took the Israeli national team hostage, eventually slaughtering eleven athletes and coaches and one German police officer after a 16-hour standoff.

As the world watched in horror, ABC broadcaster Jim McKay broke the news: "My father used to say our greatest hopes and our worst fears are seldom realized. They're all gone." For the first time in modern Olympic history, competition was suspended for a memorial service held in the Olympic Stadium attended by 80,000 spectators and 3,000 athletes.

Read a TIME cover story on the tragic events of 1972.