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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Injured Ilia Malinin wins Grand Prix Finland, qualifies for Grand Prix Final

Ilia Malinin
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Ilia Malinin, competing “a little bit injured” this week, still won Grand Prix Finland and goes into the Grand Prix Final in two weeks as the world’s top-ranked male singles skater.

Malinin, who was second after Friday’s short program, landed four clean quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate to overtake Frenchman Kevin Aymoz.

Malinin, who landed a quad flip in competition for the first time, according to SkatingScores.com, also attempted a quad Axel to open his program, but spun out of the landing and put his hand down on the ice.

Malinin also won his previous two starts this season in come-from-behind fashion. The 17-year-old world junior champion became the first skater to land a clean, fully rotated quad Axel in September, then did it again in October at Skate America, where he posted the world’s top overall score this season.

Next, Malinin can become the second-youngest man to win the Grand Prix Final after Russian Yevgeny Plushenko. His biggest competition is likely to be world champion Shoma Uno of Japan, who like Malinin won both of his Grand Prix starts this fall. Malinin and Uno have not gone head-to-head this season.

Grand Prix Finland highlights air on NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

FIGURE SKATING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Earlier, Japan’s Mai Mihara overtook world silver medalist Loena Hendrickx of Belgium to become the only woman to win both of her Grand Prix starts this season. Mihara prevailed by .23 of a point. The top three women this season by best total score are Japanese, led by a junior skater, 14-year-old Mao Shimada, who isn’t Olympic age-eligible until 2030.

Mihara and Hendrickx qualified for the Grand Prix Final, joining world champion Kaori Sakamoto and Rinka Watanabe, both of Japan, South Korean Yelim Kim and American Isabeau Levito, the world junior champion.

Italians Rebecca Ghilardi and Filippo Ambrosini won both pairs’ programs and qualified for their first Grand Prix Final.

Japan’s Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara and Americans Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier headline the Final. Both pairs won each of their Grand Prix starts earlier this fall. The Japanese have the world’s two best scores this season. The Americans are reigning world champions.

At least one Russian or Chinese pair made every Grand Prix Final podium — usually pairs from both countries — but neither nation competed in pairs this Grand Prix season. All Russian skaters are banned due to the war in Ukraine. China’s lone entry on the Grand Prix across all disciplines was an ice dance couple.

Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier improved on their world-leading score for this season in winning the ice dance by 17.03 points over Americans Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker. Both couples qualified for the Grand Prix Final in the absence of all three Olympic medalists this fall.

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Lara Gut-Behrami wins Killington giant slalom, and the overall title race may be on

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Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami rallied from third place after the first run for her 35th career World Cup victory, taking a giant slalom in Killington, Vermont, on Saturday.

Gut-Behrami, 31, earned her fifth World Cup giant slalom win and first in six years. She prevailed by .07 of a second over Italian Marta Bassino combining times from two windy runs. Sweden’s Sara Hector, the Olympic champion and first-run leader, ended up third.

“Last two years I’ve been getting better in GS again,” said Gut-Behrami, who won the GS at the last world championships in 2021. “Last year I was struggling with my health. I was all the time sick.”

ALPINE SKIING: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Gut-Behrami’s best events are downhill and super-G, so a strong start to the season in GS could put her on a path to winning the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing. She previously lifted that crystal globe in 2016.

Reigning World Cup overall champ Mikaela Shiffrin, who previously placed second, third, fourth and fifth in Killington giant slaloms, finished 13th after winning the season’s first two races, slaloms in Finland last week. It marked her lowest World Cup GS finish since December 2019.

“[Finland] was a spectacular weekend,” Shiffrin, who has not had much recent GS training, said after her 10th-place opening run Saturday. “Every race is a different story.”

Shiffrin won all five World Cup slaloms in Killington dating to 2016 and will go for her 50th career World Cup slalom victory across all venues on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC and Peacock).

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