By Jenni Frazer
July 23, 2012
Jacques Rogge is president of the International Olympic Committee.
Jacques Rogge, in this capacity, has consistently and repeatedly refused to hold a minute's silence in memory of the 11 murdered Israeli athletes. Their deaths, incidentally, took place at the Munich Games at which Rogge himself represented his country as an Olympian.
As recently as Saturday, Rogge rejected yet again the idea of a minute's silence at the Opening Ceremony.
We have four more days to go until the Games open. Global pressure is building on the IOC, from the athletes' widows to President Obama, from world leaders to American sportscasters.
So what did Rogge do? This morning, with no pre-announcement or fanfare, he went to the Athletes' Village, held a hastily assembled ceremony, and included a minute's silence. He wanted, he said, "to honour the memory of the 11 Israeli Olympians who shared the ideals that have brought us together in this beautiful Olympic village".
He said that the IOC owed it to those Israelis who "came to Munich in the spirit of peace and solidarity" to keep the spirit of the Olympics alive "and to remember them".
If ever there were a cynical response, this is it, designed to spike the guns of the Israeli widows who are due in London this week, attempting to present the IOC with their petition containing 103,000 signatures, calling for a minute's silence DURING THE GAMES. Not before the Games, not in some hole-in-the-corner event witnessed by almost no-one. Not in an event which allows Rogge to spread his arms wide and say, I have done something.
Only the truly naive will believe Rogge still has the ability to do the right and decent thing. But there are still four days left.