LONDON — The widow of an Israeli athlete slain during the 1972 Munich Olympics denounced the IOC during a memorial Monday to honor the dead, shouting “Shame on you!” for failing to offer a moment of silence during the opening ceremony for the London Games.
Ankie Spitzer took the podium during the service for the 11 athletes and officials killed in a terrorist attack and pointedly directed her remarks to International Olympic Committee head Jacques Rogge, who had spoken only moments earlier.
“Shame on you IOC, because you have forgotten 11 members of the Olympic family,” she said in a voice laden with passion.
Saying the IOC was discriminating against the Israelis because of their Jewish faith, Spitzer insisted the dead deserved to be honored as Olympians in an Olympic context and not in the various places where memorials have been held, including Monday’s event at London’s Guildhall.
“You owe it to them,” she declared.
The remarks punctuated an otherwise solemn event attended by several members of the British leadership and senior members of the country’s Jewish community.
The proposal for a moment of silence has been controversial, with family members saying Olympic officials have made excuses for 40 years as to why it should not be held. The IOC has argued that the opening ceremony isn’t an appropriate forum for a moment of silence.
But Spitzer pointed out that this year’s ceremony included not one but two moments of silence and demanded to know why it was appropriate to offer thoughts in memory of others but not the slain Israelis.
“Is the IOC only interested in power and money?” Spitzer asked, saying the world Olympic body has forgotten that it was supposed to be dedicated to peace, brotherhood and fair play.
Just before the memorial, sponsored the British Jewish community, Prime Minister David Cameron expressed support for the effort to honor the slain Israelis.
“As the world comes together in London to celebrate the games and the values it represents, it is right that we should stop and remember the 11 Israeli athletes who so tragically lost their lives when those values came under attack in Munich 40 years ago,” Cameron told an audience prior to the main memorial service. “It was a truly shocking act of evil. A crime against the Jewish people. A crime against humanity. A crime the world must never forget.”
The Munich Olympics were meant to right an historical wrong. They were the first held in Germany since the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which were tainted by images of Nazism. But the Black September Palestinian militant group penetrated the laxly secured athletes village and took Israeli team members hostage. Eleven died at the village or in a botched rescue attempt.
The games were briefly suspended, but the Olympics were forever changed. Security costs soared and keep rising with every games.
A committee started by a Jewish organization in Rockland, New York, has gathered more than 100,000 signatures for the moment of silence at an opening ceremony and counts President Barack Obama among its supporters.
The families reject the official reasons they’ve been given for why this cannot happen. At Montreal in 1976, they said they were told the reason was that the Arabs would leave. At Barcelona in 1992, it was an unwillingness to bring politics into the games. At Atlanta in 1996, the reason was protocol. At Athens in 2004, organizers said it was not the appropriate time.
Cameron said Britain, too, had suffered at the hands of terrorists, recalling the transit attacks on July 7, 2005, that killed 52 commuters the day after Britain was chosen to stage the 2012 Olympics.
Cameron noted that Britain’s “euphoria at winning the right to host these Olympics was brutally shattered within just 24 hours.”
“But our two countries, Britain and Israel, share the same determination to fight terrorism and to ensure that these evil deeds will never win,” he said.
“Seven years on from 7/7, I am proud that as we speak, this great city of London, probably the most diverse city in the world, is hosting athletes from 204 nations. And I am delighted that a strong Israeli team is among them,” he added.
Though I am happy about this, the Olympics committee should have said this before during the Opening ceremony. Also, realizing that the Munich Massacre was an anti-Semitic attack and it was awful to take action in such an event—however, it is also important to see Israel’s action over this massacre—where they started an invasion (air raid) over Lebanon, Operation Spring of Youth and Operation Wrath of God took in place and killed any suspected Lebanese/Palestinians and one innocent was killed in Norway, leaving 18 injured in Lebanon. Israel’s strike back can be justifiable that “Israel was just protecting itself”, however, waging attacks unanimously instead of realizing about Germany’s role in the Munich Massacre is a terrible way and I believe the people who were killed/injured as in revenge to the Munich Massacre should be remembered in the Olympics too. Realizing that German neo-Nazis aided the Black September group to attack the eleven Israelis in the Olympics, it’s not only Palestinian so called “terrorism”, but also German terrorism.
[correct me If I’m wrong]
did you ever use the thing I wrote and sent you about this?
You’ve probably heard of the overzealous Olympic Games “brand police” harassing old ladies making Olympic cakes and other shop owners getting into the Olympic spirit, but how about the “Wi-Fi police”?
The Olympics brand is the second most valuable brand in the world at $US45 billion.
Sponsors pay tens of millions of pounds to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for exclusive rights to spruik their wares around London and beyond, and the IOC will stop at nothing to protect those revenue streams.
BT is the “official communications services provider” for the Olympics and has 1500 Wi-Fi hotspots at Olympic sites, with prices starting from £5.99 for 90 minutes. It’s the largest single Wi-Fi venue installation in Britain, according to BT.
To protect this lucrative deal - and presumably minimise any potential technical interference - LOCOG, the London Olympics organising committee, has banned “personal/private wireless access points and 3G hubs” from Olympic venues.
Want to create a wireless hotspot on your smartphone so you can get online on your laptop or tablet in between matches? That’s prohibited, as are portable Wi-Fi hotspot devices.
Sadao Turner Esq, director of new media for TV personality Ryan Seacrest’s production company, tweeted a photo of the “Olympics Wi-Fi police” that are charged with seeking out unauthorised Wi-Fi hotspots with big red detectors.
The absurdities don’t end there. According to Britain’s Daily Telegraph, Fish and chip stalls have been advised they are not allowed to serve chips on their own without fish as McDonald’s is the official chip maker of the Games. The Independent reported that the ban on chips extended to 800 retailers at the 40 Olympic venues.
Hundreds of uniformed Olympics officers have been patrolling London enforcing the multimillion-dollar marketing deals signed with companies such as Visa, Proctor & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Adidas, McDonald’s and BP.
Only official sponsors who have paid a certain amount of money are permitted to use Olympic Games trademarks in their advertising.
Under laws specifically passed for the London Games, the brand army has rights to enter shops and business premises and bring courts actions and fines up to £20,000.
Words such as “Olympic”, “gold”, “silver”, “bronze”, “sponsors”, “summer” and “London” have been banned from business advertisements so as not to give the impression they are connected to the Olympics. Even pubs can’t have signs displaying brands of beer that are not official sponsors.
LOCOG has previously said that the sponsor rights were acquired by companies for millions of pounds and this helped support the staging of the games. It said people who sought the same benefits for free by “engaging in ambush marketing or producing counterfeit goods” were effectively depriving the games of revenue.
From a public relations perspective, this hasn’t played well with Londoners, who could breach the legislation simply by getting into the spirit of the games. Residents have also missed out on tickets only to see rows of empty seats in sections reserved for sponsors.
Today they are reading rumours that just 15 Games organisers spent $70,000 on lunch.
To see why Olympics organisers go to such lengths to protect sponsors you only have to follow the money. The Olympics brand is the second most valuable brand in the world at $US45 billion, according to a study by consultants Brand Finance.
Apple is the only brand ahead of it, worth $US70 billion. Both maintain this value by going after anyone they perceive to be using their trademarks.
The Olympics brand has increased in value by 87 per cent since the Beijing Games, largely off the back of a rise in broadcast rights - deals which punters complain are also preventing them from fully enjoying the Games. Ticketholders have also been told not to post photos or videos of matches to social networking sites.
Matthew Gain, digital director of public relations agency Edelman, said there was a “fine line that needs to be tread” between the commercial realities and the ability of consumers to enjoy the Games.
The Olympics are expensive to run and sponsors provide a chunk of the cash, so they expect that competitors won’t be able to get the same or similar benefits for free.
“However at the same time you don’t want to protect that investment so much that you piss off everyone,” he said.
“You’ve got to keep sensible about it and you’ve got to remember that the moment that you as a brand by protecting your own brand start inhibiting consumer choice and consumer behaviour … then that’s when you start risking impacting and affecting your brand.”
So have organisers gone too far in this instance? “Some of the protection of the stuff in the UK where you’ve seen the local cake shop being told that they need to stop displaying the Olympic rings cake that they’ve made and put in the window is perhaps a little bit too far,” said Gain.
“I think if it’s a mum and dad business that’s not really benefiting from the Olympics but getting into the Olympic spirit … that’s probably where you’ve gone a little bit too far.”
The first Saudi woman to compete at the Olympics may have bowed out after only 80 seconds on the judo mat on Friday but she was hailed as a heroine by many web-users in her homeland and given an enthusiastic reception by the Olympic crowd.
Only a week ago, softly spoken and shy teenager Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shaherkani had been labelled a “whore” on Twitter by some in conservative Saudi Arabia, but that criticism has been since drowned out by an outpouring of support and applause.
Her appearance had been in doubt due to wrangling days over whether judo authorities would allow her to wear an Islamic headscarf while competing, but in the end she entered the arena wearing something akin to a swimming cap.
“I’m really happy to be at the Olympics and proud to represent the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and thank all those who stood with me,” she told Reuters, clutching her older brother’s hand as they negotiated a media scrum.
Shaherkani, one of two Saudi women chosen to compete at the Games, was defeated in the first round of the +78kg judo category by Melissa Mojica of Puerto Rico.
READ ON: Saudi’s first woman bows out after symbolic show
Something of a controversy has arisen on Twitter after the account of Guy Adams — Los Angeles bureau chief for The Independent — was suspended following a string of tweets criticizing NBC’s television coverage of the Olympics. Adams’ displeasure certainly isn’t unique, nor is his choice of a platform from which to voice his complaints: viewers have made their frustrations known via Twitter over the last several days, with variations of #NBCfail and #NBCsucks soaring to the top of the service’s trending topics as a result. Yet Twitter’s suspension of this one account (paired with its cozy relationship with NBCduring these London games) has drawn a swell of criticism. But as it turns out, Twitter’s terms of service give it the right to take action against Adams — an uncomfortable reminder that even the most popular social media platforms are under private authority.
Amidst his slew of tweets slamming NBC’s telecast, Guy Adams included the corporate (but private) email address of Gary Zenkel — the executive in charge of Olympics programming at NBC.
“The man responsible for NBC pretending the Olympics haven’t started yet is Gary Zenkel. Tell him what u think! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org” [Editorial note: we’ve omitted Mr. Zenkel’s contact information for obvious reasons.]
That’s a clear violation of Twitter’s policies against posting private user information, which are detailed in straightforward verbiage here. Among the data Twitter forbids from being posted in a public tweet? Non-public, personal email addresses. Gary Zenkel’s email address is not listed anywhere on his biography located at the NBC Sports website. Nor can it be found on that network’s contacts page. To get around this, Adams could’ve easily used the email address formatting shared by public-facing NBC Universal employees (i.e. the company’s PR team) and filled in Zenkel’s name.
If you need more proof that NBC doesn’t want angry cable viewers emailing one of their high-level executives, look no further than this official statement from the Sports division:
NBC Sports statement: “We filed a complaint with Twitter because a user tweeted the personal information of one of our executives.”
— Matthew Keys (@ProducerMatthew) July 30, 2012
Adams may have avoided Twitter’s wrath by instead tweeting the email address of one Adam Freifeld (email@example.com), Vice President of Communications at NBC Sports, who includes the 2012 London Olympics among his projects and whose contact information is freely available on the network’s homepage.
But what if Adams had chosen to echo his original complaints elsewhere on the web? It’s doubtful he would have fared much better. Facebook enforces a similar (but even more vague) policy, for instance: “You will not post content or take any action on Facebook that infringes or violates someone else’s rights or otherwise violates the law,” reads section 5 of the site’s legal terms. The company can apply that policy to virtually any scenario it deems appropriate, and posting a private email address could easily qualify.
Still, as tantalizing as these “censorship” controversies can often be, this one isn’t hard to follow. Twitter has rules, and Guy Adams happened to violate one of them. There’s a case to be made, though, that social media is just as powerful a tool for corporate censorship as it is a force for citizens and consumers to stand together. Twitter’s policies are unlikely to impede someone like Guy Adams, who can take to the pages of The Independent to voice his opinion. But for everyone else, it’s a worrisome prospect indeed.
According to a report on Deadspin, NBC’s broadcast of the Olympic opening ceremonies lacked a crucial portion of the performance – a nearly six minute long tribute to the victims of the 2005 7/7 terror attacks which occurred less than one day after London was selected to host the 2012 games. During the portion of the performance that was not broadcast in the U.S., the BBC announcer asks the audience to observe a moment of silence. “The excitement of that moment in Singapore seven years ago when England won the games was tempered the next day with sorrow from the events of July 7th that year,” says the BBC announcer. “A wall of remembrance for those no longer here to share in this event.” Deadspin’s Timothy Burke says they have reached out to NBC as to why they felt the need to cut out that portion of the ceremony but has not yet heard back from the network: [I]t was a rather significant and emotional moment in the opening ceremony, coming just before the parade of nations—and it wasn’t aired in the United States. Instead, viewers were treated to a lengthy and meaningless Ryan Seacrest interview of Michael Phelps. NBC regularly excises small portions of the opening ceremony to make room for commercials, but we’ve never heard of them censoring out an entire performance—especially to air an inane interview. We’ve asked NBC why they didn’t air the tribute, and if they get back to us we’ll let you know what they say. In the meantime, enjoy the performance everyone else in the world saw. UPDATE: An NBC Sports spokesperson responding to the criticism says that it is their policy to shorten for both broadcast constraints and for the sensibilities of the local audience. However, NBC engaged in almost no editing of the Olympic opening ceremonies. “Our program is tailored for the U.S. television audience. It’s a credit to [opening ceremony producer] Danny Boyle that it required so little editing,” said the spokesperson.
fuck you, world
only our tragedies matter apparently