Home September 2012 Olympic Memories

Olympic Memories

The 2012 Olympics offered a midsummer spectacle of brilliance and bravado; a chance to root for Jewish, American, Jewish-American and Israeli athletes who achieved varying degrees of success; and a lingering question about the role of political correctness in the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision-making process.  Undoubtedly, the real story belonged to Alexandra (Aly) Raisman, the 18-year-old gymnast who could – and did – claim a perpetual heroine’s welcome in the heart of every Jewish Olympic fan.
Raisman, who won a gold medal, did her gymnastic routine to “Hava Nagila.”  She said it was to honor the Munich 11, the Israeli athletes slain at the Olympics in Munich 40 years ago.  In spite of a viral campaign to ask the IOC to hold a moment of silence for the slain athletes during the ceremonies, the IOC declined, saying such a move would be too political.
On the blog www.kveller.com (A Jewish Twist on Parenting), Johanna Horn said, “We don’t need the IOC to give us a moment of silence for our slain Israeli athletes.  We’ll mourn and remember them ourselves.  On the 40th anniversary of the Munich massacre it is a beautiful Jewish girl that proves: Am Yisrael Chai v’od Avinu Chai! Tamid!”
Horn added, “It would have been enough, if you will, if Raisman had only performed her floor routine to the Jewish standard ‘Hava Nagila,’ making it clear that she takes pride in her Jewish heritage.  It would have been enough if she’d ‘only’ won three medals to take home for Team USA with her hard work and amazing athleticism.  But she took special note that she had won her gold on the 40th anniversary of the Munich massacre, in which Palestinian terrorists brutally murdered the Israeli Olympic team – and in doing so, won another gold in my mind for empathy, for the people of Israel, and for truth.  She stood up for what she believed in, using her international podium to proclaim that she would have supported a moment of silence on behalf of the slaughtered athletes.  She took a determined and brave stand where people more than twice as old failed to do so out of cowardice.”
According to Joanthan Tobin, senior online editor of Commentary Magazine, “Though the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stubbornly refused to devote even a minute of an hours-long opening ceremony for a moment of silence for the victims of Munich (while giving several minutes to a memorial to the victims of the London subway bombings), American gymnast Alexandra Raisman had an appropriate response.  By saying her gold medal-winning performance in the floor exercise was in part a memorial to the Israelis who perished long before she was born, Raisman gave us a genuine moment of Jewish pride that places the IOC’s shameful stand in perspective.”
He added, “As the Massachusetts native told the New York Post, she did not select the ‘Hava Nagila’ music deliberately to honor the Munich 11, but she took special satisfaction from winning the gold 40 years after the massacre.  Doing so, she said, ‘meant a lot’ to her.  She also said she would have supported and respected an Olympic moment of silence for Munich.  Her statement and victory ought to comfort Jews who were rightly outraged by the double standard shown by the IOC.”
On the last day of the Olympics, August 12, Ankie Spitzer led a minute of silence to honor the Munich 11 that was streamed live around the world.  Spitzer, the widow of an Israeli coach who was among 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team killed at the 1972 Games, led the minute of silence on Sunday evening at the JCC Maccabi Games opening ceremonies at the JCC Rockland in suburban New York.

Final Medal Results for the Jewish Athletes from the London 2012 Olympic Games
(Courtesy of JTA)

Sunday, July 29
Women’s Gymnastics
Alexandra (Aly) Raisman (USA)Qualified for the finals of the floor routine after finishing first overall with a 15.325/20 score, Raisman did her routine to “Hava Nagila”
Men’s Swimming
Jason Lezak (USA)
4X100m Freestyle Relay
SILVER MEDAL
Finished 2nd with the American relay team in the qualifiers (Lezak was last
to swim)
Did not participate in finals,
USA won silver
Tuesday July 31
Women’s Gymnastics
Alexandra (Aly) Raisman (USA) Team Finals
GOLD MEDAL
Scored 14.933 on the beam
Scored 15.300 on the floor routine, rank 1
Team USA wins the
gold medal
Thursday August 2
Women’s Canoe Slalom
Jessica Fox (AUSTRALIA), Kayak (K1) Final
SILVER MEDAL
Finished 2nd overall with
a 106.51 score
Her Mother, Myriam, won
bronze in the 1996 games

Tuesday August 7
Women’s Gymnastics
Alexandra (Aly) Raisman (USA)
Floor Execise Final
GOLD MEDAL
Finished 1st overall with
a 15.600 score
Alexandra (Aly) Raisman (USA) Beam Final
BRONZE MEDAL
Finished 3rd overall with
a 15.066 score
Friday August 10
Women’s Track and Field
Olesya Povh (UKRAINE) 4x100m Olympic Final BRONZE MEDAL
Finished 3rd in the final
with Ukraine’s relay team
Women’s Sailing
Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie (NEW ZEALAND)
470, Medal Race
GOLD MEDAL
Finished medal race in the
1st place
Finished 1st overall, Aleh and Powrie win a gold medal
Saturday August 11
Men’s Basketball
David Blatt (RUSSIA,
Men’s Basketball coach)
Bronze Medal game
BRONZE MEDAL
Russia beat Argentina 81-77 and finished 3rd overall

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