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Germany opens memorial to Israelis killed at Munich Olympics

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BERLIN (AP) — The presidents of Germany and Israel on Wednesday inaugurated a memorial to 11 Israeli athletes and coaches and a West German police officer killed 45 years ago during an attack by a Palestinian militant group at the Munich Olympics.

Presidents Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Reuven Rivlin were joined at the new memorial in the city’s Olympic Park by relatives of the victims.

“We’ve come here today to close a circle, a circle that can never really be closed,” Rivlin told a somber crowd.

He said the 1972 Olympics, dubbed “The Cheerful Games” as the first in the country since the Nazis hosted the 1936 Games in Berlin, “turned into an Olympiad of blood.”

On Sept. 5, 1972, eight members of Palestinian group Black September climbed over the unguarded fence of the Olympic village, burst into the building where the Israeli team was staying and took the athletes hostage.

Five athletes, six coaches and a West German policeman were killed at the village or during a botched rescue attempt. The Palestinian attackers demanded the release of prisoners held by Israel and two left-wing extremists in West German jails.

The memorial, with a grass-covered roof, is situated on a hill inside the Olympic Park and shows multi-media installations about the lives of the athletes and the police officer. It’s open to the public on a daily basis.

“The family members and the state of Israel had to wait for this moment for 45 years,” Rivlin said referring to the massive criticism by the Israeli families about the fact that it took more than four decades to dedicate a memorial to the victims in the city where they were killed.

The bereaved families for years called not only for a memorial in Munich, but also for the International Olympic Committee to commemorate the murdered Olympians with a moment of silence during the opening of the Olympic Games.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach held a memorial ceremony and minute of silence for those slain during the Rio Games. Bach also attended Wednesday’s event in Munich.

President Steinmeier said in his speech that the memorial is also a place where Germany has to face the truth, that “it did not provide the security needed, that Germany was not prepared for terror, even though Munich was not the beginning of terror.”

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MORE: Munich Olympic attack victims’ families detail massacre in documentary

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PyeongChang late night roundup

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It was a terrific ending for the Olympic curling tournament. The U.S. men’s team defied all odds by upsetting Sweden in the final 10-7. Buoyed by John Shuster’s double take out in the eighth end, the United States all but assured gold at 10-5 up.

On the night that the United States won its ninth gold medal during these Olympic Games, Finland won its first. Cross-country skier Livo Niskanen outpaced the rest of the 50 man field in the 17th kilometer. OAR skier Alexander Bolushnov gave him a fight in the final kilometers, but he too was eventually left behind.


Curling: USA wins first-ever curling gold 

The USA men’s curling team’s improbable Olympic run has concluded in glory. John Shuster’s squad looked like they were in control from the very onset of the match, forcing Sweden to make errors. The highlight of the match: Shuster’s final stone in the eighth end to put the USA well out of reach with a 10-5 lead.

The United States started competition 2-4 and looked well out of contention to make the playoffs, but an incredible run of three wins saw them get into the playoffs on the final day.

Recap: USA men’s curling wins Olympic gold 

The USA weren’t the only surprise medal winners today. Japan won the country’s first-ever Olympic medal after defeating Great Britain.

It all came down to two steals from Japan in the final two ends, with Briton skip Eve Muirhead missing her final stone to give the victory to Japan.

Men’s Tournamenet

USA def. SWE 10-7

Women’s Tournament

JPN def. GBR 5-3

Cross-Country: Niskanen wins men’s 50km 

Finnish skier Livo Niskanen’s pace was too much for nearly the entire field on Friday night. The Finn broke from the pack, along with Alexey Poltoranen, in the 17th kilometer and continued to stay out front. After Poltoranen ran out of gas, it was OAR athlete Alexander Bolushnov who erased a 30 second gap to challenge the Finn.

It wasn’t until the last kilometre that a seemingly-fatigued Niskanen made his final move to brush of Bolushnov to cross the finish line.

It was a very disappointing day for the Norwegians, who’ve dominated the sport this year. Not one Norwegian landed on the podium, including gold medal favorite Martin Sundsby.

Full men’s 50km recap available here 

Speed Skating: Takagi, Lee win inaugural mass start 

Making its Olympic debut, the speed skating mass start proved to be an erratic event as several skaters collided and crashed out of the competition.

The final race is simple: first three skaters to cross the finish line win the medals.

Estonia’s Saskia Alusalu made the initial burst of energy in the race, but was caught up to in the final three laps. The women’s champion was decided by a final sprint, when Japan’s Nana Takagi beat world champion Kim Bo-Reum and Irene Schouten.

Women’s mass start recap available here 

Lee Song-Hoon won the men’s tournament, ensuring that the speed skating program would not have as sour an ending as the short track. Unlike the women’s race, the men’s skaters stuck together as a train for most of the race until the final three laps.

In the end, Lee came in with too much speed to be overtaken by any of the chasing competitors.

Men’s mass start recap available here 

USA wins gold in men’s curling

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For the first time in history, the United States won the Olympic gold medal in curling.

A week ago, it didn’t seem like that would happen. Sitting at 2-4 and with a game against behemoth Canada coming up, John Shuster captained the United States to three consecutive wins (over Canada, Switzerland, and Great Britain) to squeak into the semifinals. From there, they took down Great Britain before completing the run against Sweden in the gold medal game.

Tied at 5-5 in the eighth end, Shuster was able to hit both of Sweden’s rocks out of the house, giving the United States an incredible five points and a 10-5 lead heading into the ninth.

NBCOlympics.com: Watch: Team USA scores five points in eighth end

After that, it was all about protecting the lead. Just a few minutes later Swedish skip Niklas Edin conceded the game, and it was the United States standing on top of the podium for the first time ever in the sport of curling.

Click here to read the full recap from the gold medal game