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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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Chicago Marathon canceled; one major marathon left in 2020

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The Chicago Marathon, scheduled for Oct. 11, was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, becoming the fourth World Marathon Major called off this year.

Organizers cited the challenge of staging the 45,000-runner event “out of concern for the safety of event participants, volunteers, event staff and spectators.”

Previously, major marathons were canceled in Berlin (originally scheduled for Sept. 27), Boston (April 20, then Sept. 14) and New York City (Nov. 1). The London Marathon, originally scheduled for April 26 and postponed to Oct. 4, remains scheduled.

The other World Marathon Major, Tokyo, took place on its scheduled date of March 1 but with elite runners only.

Last year, Kenyan Brigid Kosgei won Chicago by taking 81 seconds off Paula Radcliffe‘s 16-year-old women’s marathon world record. Kosgei clocked 2:14:04.

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MORE: U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials results

Figure skating Grand Prix events in China remain scheduled

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Figure skating Grand Prix events in China in November and December remain scheduled, the International Skating Union announced Monday, four days after reports about international sporting events in China being canceled through the end of 2020.

A notice about sports events, issued Thursday by the General Administration of Sport of China, made an exception for Beijing Winter Olympic test events and other preparations for the first Winter Games in China in February 2022.

The Grand Prix Final, the second-most prestigious annual figure skating competition, is still scheduled for December in Beijing because it is an Olympic test event.

Furthermore, the Cup of China, one of six events across the globe that determines Grand Prix Final qualifiers, remains scheduled for November in Chongqing because it is related to the Final.

“Like for all other five ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating events in the different countries, this is of course subject to finding the necessary logistical, medical and safety solutions to hold the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating events as planned,” according to the ISU.

The ISU previously announced it set a deadline to decide on possible event cancellations: 12 weeks before an event starts. For the first Grand Prix Series competition, Skate America in Las Vegas, the decision deadline is Aug. 1.

The ISU council will meet virtually on Aug. 3 to decide on further action for upcoming competitions.

MORE: Tai Babilonia, a Winter Olympic original, credits skating trailblazer

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