First guy to the
dorm always gets the best room, right? So Dani Alon snagged the sweet
second-floor room with the balcony. Building number 2, 31 Connollystrasse. Who
was going to mess with Israel's fencing champ?
Soon everyone was
filing into their rooms--the shooters, the weightlifters, the wrestlers. Alon's
event came early in the schedule and he won five of his foil bouts, beating a
German, an Argentine, an Irishman, an Italian and a Czech. Life was beautiful
at the Munich Olympics.
On the night of
Sept. 4, 1972, the whole team went to see the play Fiddler on the Roof. At
intermission the athletes were invited backstage, where a joyous team picture
was taken. Alon was asleep at 4:30 a.m. when a big bang and a lot of shouting
snapped him straight up in bed.
that?" asked his 17-year-old roommate, fencer Yehuda Weisenstein.
some other team celebrating," Alon said. "Go back to sleep."
later, machine-gun fire next door pierced the wall over Alon's bed. Three of
his teammates--two shooters and a wrestler--burst into the room,
Alon ran to the
window in the front bedroom. Below, a man in a white hat was talking to two
policemen. "We have killed two already," white hat said. "We have
nine more inside. Get the Israeli government on the phone, or we kill
everybody." Lying on the pavement, bleeding to death, was the wrestling
coach, Moshe Weinberg.
Alon went back
and peeked out the rear balcony door. On the balcony to the left, he could see
a man with a ski mask and a machine gun. You've seen this man. He became the
symbol of Black September, the Palestinian terrorist group that snuck into the
Israeli compound in the Olympic Village and stormed buildings 1 and 3. But not
2. For whatever reason, the attackers had passed over number 2.
"What are we
going to do?" Weisenstein whispered to Alon.
The shooters from
the team had guns and would fire bullets into the head of white hat, then
they'd run for it, Alon and his teammates decided. But what would that do but
alert the other terrorists that they had missed a building?