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Israel's Gilady praises mourning place at Rio athletes' village

Europe
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Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - Israel‘s International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Alex Gilady on Wednesday praised the inauguration of a place of mourning in the athletes‘ village for the Rio Games, which he said eases the suffering of the families of the Munich massacre victims.

Relatives of the victims of the Palestinian attack on Israel‘s team at the Munich 1972 Games had fought for decades for a memorial site or event, most recently for a minute of silence at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Games.

The IOC last year decided to introduce a mourning place in athletes‘ villages to "allow athletes and all those in the village to mourn those who have passed away." IOC president Thomas Bach said they could include the 11 Munich victims, but also Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, who died in a Vancouver 2010 training crash.

The Rio place of mourning was inaugurated Wednesday in the presence of the IOC executive board and two widows of the Munich victims, Gilady said.

"For many years there was a cloud every time we got close to opening ceremonies, among the families of those who lost their lives in Munich ‘72 and of others who lost their lives during Games," he said at the IOC Session.

"Now in the most vivid, lively and ambitious place in the world, in the Olympic village, there was a stone from Olympia beautifully placed for those who find it the right place and time to mourn," he added.

"It was so emotional and right that in one step you have managed to bring peace and conciliation to what was a stone in many hearts," he told the German IOC boss Bach.

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