Former Head of Israel's Olympic Delegation Who Survived Munich Massacre Dies at 95

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Shmuel Lalkin, head of the Israeli delegation to the Olympic Games at the 1972 Munich Olympics, at a press conference in the Olympic Village after the murder of Israeli athletes.
Shmuel Lalkin, head of the Israeli delegation to the Olympic Games at the 1972 Munich Olympics, at a press conference in the Olympic Village after the murder of Israeli athletes.Credit: AP, CABLEPHOTO

Shmuel Lalkin, an prominent figure in Israeli sports who served as the CEO of the Israel Sport Federation for 33 years, died on Thursday at the age of 95.

Lalkin, considered one of the most influential figures in local sports, headed Israel’s Olympic delegations between the Mexico City Games in 1968 and the Los Angeles Games in 1984.

He survived the massacre of 11 team members at the Munich Games in 1972, as his room was located about 10 meters (about 33 feet) away from those of the rest of the Israeli delegation.

During a memorial in the Olympic stadium on the day of the massacre, which was broadcast live to millions of viewers worldwide, Lalkin delivered an unforgettable speech in Hebrew. “Israel will not be deterred by terrorism, and will continue to compete in the Olympics and in international sports competitions,” Lalkin declared.

He said in various interviews that he had warned about security failures in Munich before the massacre, but his complaints were ignored.

The Olympic Committee of Israel said in statement "The Olympic sports family in Israel bows its head" with the news of Lalkin's death.

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