Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Munich Masterpiece

Munich Pop History Day 8: Few events over the last 40 years have had a bigger impact on Munich than the 1972 Summer Olympics. The Olympics were the first of many events in Germany to “re-brand” Germans to the rest of the world, and at the time it was to show Munich as a new, democratic and optimistic city to the world. The official motto was “the Happy Games, and was the first to have an official mascot – “Waldi” the dachshund mascot. The games were known for the architectural wonder of the Olympic grounds (which still exist today), and amazing performances by swimmer Mark Spitz (7 goal medals and 7 world records in 7 events), Soviet gymnast Olga Korbut who won the all-around gold, and the US basketball team that was upset by the Soviet Union – breaking a 36 year winning streak. However, the 1972 Olympics will go down in history as the Munich Massacre because of the killing of 11 Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists. Today, the Olympic park facilities are used by millions of people every year, and the Olympic housing (including the apartment of the Massacre which still exists) now houses more than 10,000 people. And now, Munich is a city candidate for the 2018 Winter Olympics. If they win, Munich would be the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

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