You sometimes wonder if International Olympics Committee President Jacques Rogge realizes that if he'd held a moment of silence for Israeli athletes murdered in Munich 40 years ago, people might stop talking about it.
Even though different folks and a petition among whose hundred thousand names was U.S. President Barack Obama urged Mr. Rogge to reconsider, he refused to hold such a moment during the London Games opening ceremonies, saying such tribute had already been paid. Interesting way of thinking, since the athletes and coaches are all still dead and there's precedent for marking tragedies like this on anniversary years that end in zero.
Enter five-feet-two-inches and 115 pounds of Roggean headache, the proudly Jewish U.S. gymnast Aly Raisman who won a floor exercise gold medal earlier this week to the tune of "Hava Nagila," a song often played at Jewish weddings. Although Ms. Raisman did not say she chose the music as a thumb in the IOC's eye, she did say she would have supported a moment of silence observance and that winning her gold on the 40th anniversary of the Munich games meant a great deal to her. She also said she chose "Hava Nagila" because of her Jewish heritage (and its temptation to the audience to clap along).
I've read some speculation that several Middle Eastern countries are supposed to have told Mr. Rogge that they would boycott the games if the opening ceremonies included a tribute to the slain Israeli athletes. Even if that's true, I wonder if Mr. Rogge still thinks the loss of that equestrian bronze for Saudi Arabia or weightlifting gold for Iran or second slowest time in the field in the men's 400 meters for Palestine would have been worse than the many reminders of how petty and mean he and his committee have been.
Oh well. Mr. Rogge has to look in the mirror every morning and try to fool himself into believing he's a man of character, which I guess is punishment enough for a small man.
But for Ms. Reisman's part, it looks like the dancing will be pretty awesome at the reception whenever she does get married and the band strikes up "Hava Nagila."
(Here's a longer story about the song choice at London's Daily Mail, but it tends to cast Raisman's choice as a deliberate poke at the IOC -- not that they don't deserve it, but it doesn't seem to me her quotes support that interpretation)