Overall the Olympics are a celebration of sport and peace. But every now and then something truly tragic mars the games, and nothing has been worse than the terrorist incident at Munich in 1972.
According to History, on September 5, a group of Palestinian terrorists did a pre-dawn raid on the Olympic village. They targeted the Israeli athletes and managed to take nine of them hostage. The group was called Black September, which would make a cool band name if it wasn’t attached to something so horrible. (It also explains why they waited until halfway through the games because Black August doesn’t have the same scary ring to it.)
They held nine Israelis hostage and demanded that in exchange for their lives, over 230 Palestinians be released from Israeli jails. Unfortunately, negotiations between the two sides broke down, and the ski mask-wearing Black September members took off for the airport, hostages in tow. Once they got there a fight broke out, and all the hostages were killed. Some of the terrorists managed to escape but were eventually tracked down by Mossad.
Despite the tragedy, it only disrupted a couple days of the games. A memorial service was held and the IOC president Avery Brundage called for the Olympics to continue, just to prove the terrorists hadn’t won. And some of the feats recorded that year, like swimmer Mark Spitz’s seven gold medals, proved that even out of terror, good can triumph.