The Worst Day In Sports History

Today is the 40th anniversary of the Munich massacre, when Palestinian terrorists murdered 11 Israeli athletes and coaches at the Olympic Games. If you haven’t seen “One Day in September,” the extraordinary 1999 documentary about the event, you can watch it here.

Or, if you just want to see one of the most famous statements ever uttered on TV, you can watch this: “They’re all gone.”

From beginning to end, the tragedy was compounded by stunning incompetence on behalf of the Germans, a callous failure that continued months after the massacre when a staged hijacking led to the release of the surviving terrorists. It’s still aggravating.

Add in the facts that, 1) Olympic competition continued WHILE ATHLETES WERE BEING HELD HOSTAGE; and 2) the IOC to this day refuses to publicly hold a moment of silence to commemorate the tragedy, and your mind is sufficiently boggled.

Which brings up a question: What is the biggest sports story of all-time? At least from an American perspective.

Is it the Munich massacre? Magic Johnson retiring because he had HIV? The Penn State scandal? Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier? Each of those extended well beyond the sidelines, touching upon social issues and helping to change the world. But it’s difficult to imagine anything comparing with the scope of Munich.

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