Scorecard scolds, scowls, scoffs, praises and prattles, but rarely does it preen. Forgive us, then, for congratulating ourselves just this once.
Three years ago Sydney Morning Herald columnist and former international rugby star Peter FitzSimons was sitting at the Olympic double-trap shooting event just outside Atlanta, leafing through one of the issues SPORTS ILLUSTRATED published daily during the 1996 Summer Games. FitzSimons came upon this SCORECARD reference to the IOC's failure to commemorate the 11 Israelis who were murdered by terrorists during the 1972 Munich Games: "While the IOC is naturally loath to hark back to the darkest incident in Olympic history, it is astounding that over six subsequent Summer Games, the organization has virtually ignored the victims. No permanent memorial, no mention in the opening ceremonies, no nothing."
FitzSimons clipped the item and sent it to Geoff Levy, a businessman he knew in Sydney, along with a scribbled note—"Geoff, what about this?"—and later wrote a column on the subject. Levy enlisted a group of his fellow Jewish businessmen, and last Friday the result was unveiled on Olympic Plaza.
The plaza, which can accommodate more than 300,000 people per day, will be the focal point for crowds during the 2000 Sydney Games. It is lined by 19 lighting towers, each dedicated to a past host city of the Summer Olympics. On the stanchion of Tower 14, the Munich 1972 tower, two plaques—one of blue glass and one of stainless steel, set at an angle to give the impression that the glass is floating—are etched with the names of the slain Israeli athletes, coaches and referees, along with a verse from the Bible in English and a traditional prayer for the dead in Hebrew.
"They were swifter than eagles and stronger than lions," reads the verse from II Samuel. "God of compassion," petitions the Hebrew passage, "let them find shelter in the shadow of your wings, and may their souls be bound up in the bond of everlasting life."
Thanks, Pete. Thanks, Geoff. Now back to our regularly scheduled scolding, scowling and scoffing.