On 5 September, eight Palestinian terrorists broke into the Olympic Village, killing two members of the Israeli team and taking nine hostages. In the ensuing battle, all nine Israeli hostages were killed, as were five of the terrorists and one policeman. In defiance of the terrorists, the IOC ordered the competitions to resume after a pause of 34 hours.
All other details of the Munich Games pale in significance, but it did have its highlights. The Munich Games were the largest yet, setting records in all categories, with 195 events and 7,134 athletes from 121 National Olympic Committees.
Debuts and firsts
Men’s indoor handball, slalom canoeing and kayaking all made their Olympic debuts. West German Liselott Linsenhoff, competing in the dressage event, became the first female equestrian to win a gold medal, and archery returned to the Olympic programme after a 52-year absence.
US swimmer Mark Spitz won an incredible seven gold medals and broke seven world records. Yet the media star of the Munich Games was the tiny Soviet gymnast, Olga Korbut, whose dramatic cycle of success in the team competition, failure in the individual competition and renewed success in the apparatus finals captured the attention of fans worldwide.
Athletes 7,134 (1,059 women, 6,075 men)