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As the torch goes out
[Daily Edition]
Jerusalem Post - Jerusalem
Date: Aug 29, 2004
Start Page: 13
Section: Opinion
Abstract (Document Summary)

For its first 44 years of existence, the defining Olympic moment for Israel was the Olympic flag at half-mast in the 1972 Munich games, marking the murder of 11 members of the Israeli team by Palestinian terrorists. The refusal of the Iranian judoist to fight an Israeli competitor at the start of these games was a somber reminder of the anti- Semitic hatred that mars an event that is supposed to unite all nations.

After the Los Angeles debacle, the Israeli Olympic committee formed a special unit for achievements in sports, with the express purpose of putting an Israeli on the podium one day. The unit was supposed to scout out the best athletes in all fields, and provide them with professional support, trainers, facilities, scholarships, medical treatment, and decide whether they should be given a place on the national team. At the time, sports officials tried to lower expectations and predicted a first Israeli medal in at the least 20 years.

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