A personal story written by an an Israeli athlete…. who happens to be my beautiful mother!
As a proud alumni of the Wingate Institute, a passionate Zionist, and a past student of many of the talented Olympians murdered at Munich, it’s important for me to pay respect to those victims who have shaped me into the passionate and dedicated person I am today.
Forty years ago, today, I was 18 years old, in love with watching and playing sports, and was one of Amitzur Shapira’s trainees. Amitzur was a committed athlete, and an event stronger coach. His passion for seeing his students excel was evident not only for future Olympians, but for all his students. I remember seeing him one week before he left for the games. My class wished him good luck, told him to come back with team medals, and told him that we will be watching his team and cheering loudly. Many of us, including myself, made it a point to tell him to come back ready to train us….we wanted to be Olympians, too! Hugs (and sprints) were exchanged, and he was off… off to see years of coaching pay off.
…September 5th 1972… a morning phone call from a classmate telling me to watch the news, followed by LOTS of conflicting reports… but one thing was certain, a terrorist attack in Munich against the Israeli delegation to the Olympic Games has occurred. The drama unfolded with us glued to the Television, waiting to hear what is happening with the hostages, who the hostages are, and for many of us…is our teacher coming home. We learned about the dreadful truth in the early hours of September 6th. All the hostages had been killed. Amitzur is not coming home. Mourning, shock, and somber took over the State of Israel, and the many students impacted by the victims.
A terrible tragedy, followed by a resilient country who continues to achieve excellence and strength. Such is Israel. Such is our people hood. Amitzur and the rest of the victims continue to touch lives, be remembered, and empower young generations of athletes today. I am truly honored that I had the opportunity to learn from such an incredible and inspiring man. Am Israel Chai. Forever Remembered.