Anytime you gather huge groups of people together, there’s always a potential for disaster. I hate looking at it that way, but it’s true. Historically, what was supposed to bring out the best in the human spirit has often brought out the worst. In this particular case, I’m talking about the Olympic games, specifically the upcoming Summer Games in Paris. You couldn’t drag me there if you offered me a Scrooge McDuck-like swimming pool full of gold coins.

Why? Allow me to explain.

Munich 1972

For starters, there was the Munich Massacre. It stands as a harrowing episode etched in the annals of Olympic history. It is a stark reminder of how the specter of terrorism can shatter a global stage of unity and sportsmanship. On that fateful day in September 1972, during the Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany, the world witnessed a tragedy that transcended the boundaries of sport, echoing the grim realities of political strife and terrorism.

It all began in the early hours of September 5, when a group of Palestinian terrorists (yeah, those guys) affiliated with the faction known as Black September infiltrated the Olympic Village. Their target: the Israeli Olympic team. In a calculated and heinous act, they took eleven Israeli athletes, coaches, and officials hostage. The demands were politically charged – the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel. The world watched in horror as the crisis unfolded, holding its breath for a peaceful resolution. However, the situation deteriorated rapidly, leading to a botched rescue attempt by German authorities at the Fürstenfeldbruck air base. The outcome was devastating: by the end of that long night, all the Israeli hostages, along with five of the terrorists and a West German police officer, lay dead.

This tragic event cast a long shadow over the Olympic Games, forever altering its landscape. The Munich Massacre became a symbol of the vulnerability of such international gatherings to the whims of political extremism. It forced a reevaluation of security measures at future Olympics and highlighted the need for greater international cooperation against terrorism. More than just a blemish on the Olympic spirit, Munich 1972 is a poignant reminder of the fragile nature of peace and the enduring impact of political conflict on humanity’s grandest stages.

Atlanta 1996

Fast forward to the summer of 1996, the city of Atlanta, bustling with the energy of the Centennial Olympic Games, became the site of a sinister act that shook the core of the international sporting community. The Olympic Games, a symbol of global unity and peaceful competition, were jolted by an act of terror that would forever mark the memory of these Games. This is the story of the Atlanta Olympic bombing, a chilling reminder of the vulnerability of even the most celebratory and secure gatherings.

On July 27, the unthinkable happened in the heart of the festivities at Centennial Olympic Park, a bustling hub for visitors and athletes alike. A homemade pipe bomb, filled with nails and screws to maximize harm, exploded, cutting through the joyous atmosphere like a bolt of lightning. The blast claimed two lives – a spectator and a cameraman who suffered a heart attack rushing to cover the chaos – and injured over a hundred others, leaving a trail of devastation and fear.