Munich West Germany, 1972

Legacy of the Games

Munich 1972 was the first Olympic Games at which officials swore an oath. It also saw the reintroduction of the archery competition after a break of 52 years.

These were the first Games to have an official named mascot – ‘Waldi’ the dachshund. The designer Otl Aicher designed his famous ‘stick figure’ pictograms to represent individual sports for these Games. The pictograms are still in use at Olympic competitions.

The Munich Games are most remembered for the terrible events of the ‘Munich Massacre’, which happened towards the end of the Games, on 5 September 1972. Eight terrorists from an organisation called ‘Black September’ entered the Olympic Village and took hostage, subsequently killing, 11 members of the Israeli Olympic Team. The Games were suspended for 24 hours but eventually the IOC president, Avery Brundage, insisted that ‘The Games must go on’. A mass was held for the victims in the main stadium. The attack prompted heightened security at subsequent Olympic Games.

Eleven nations made their first Olympic appearance at the XX Olympiad: Albania, Burkina Faso (competing as Upper Volta), Benin (competing as Dahomey), Gabon, North Korea, Lesotho, Malawi, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Swaziland and Togo.