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Munich: Memorials to the 1972 Olympics Massacre

Above/featured: Munich’s Olympic Park: Olympic Tower and the tent roof structure.

In my hockey-mad nation of birth, September 1972 is defined by the epic hockey Summit Series between Canada and the Soviet Union; the games and individual stories are stuff of legends. But high on my mind since childhood have been the tragic events that same month in Munich: the worst terrorist act in modern Olympics history.

The 20th Summer Olympics were under way in Munich, Germany, and “The Carefree Games” as they were called were the first summer games held in Germany since Berlin in 1936. Both Munich and Germany wanted to show a different peaceful and prosperous side to the world with the generation born after the Second World War.

However, the 1972 Games will also carry the stain of the “Munich Massacre” on 5-6 September. By crisis’ end, the 17 dead included eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team, one German police officer, and five Palestinian kidnappers. Many questions remained about pre-Game preparations and warnings about a possible attack, security measures, crisis management, and the failed attempt to liberate the hostages. Complete details of events remain murky even after 40 years. The disaster would damage the reputations of city, state, and country as well as international relations for years to come.

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Royal Easter Show, Olympic Park, Sydney, Australia

Sydney: Royal Easter Show, 190th edition (2013)

Friends here in Sydney asked if I wanted to go to the Sydney Royal Easter Show, one of the largest agricultural exhibitions and one of the largest annual events in Australia. As memories surfaced of years past spending warm days and cool evenings at the late-summer’s Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver, Canada, I replied with a big “yes”!

The Sydney Royal Easter Show celebrates the 190th edition in 2013. The show began in 1823 at Parramatta Park and sponsored as a meeting of then Agricultural Society of New South Wales, now the Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales. To help support the struggling population in what was then the agricultural centre of the New South Wales colony, the main intent was to find ways to improve farming methods for both animals and crops.

Now, at the site of Sydney Olympic Park, the Royal Easter Show has many visitors of all ages and sizes; numerous animals (prize-winners, too) from bovines to canines and equines to porcines; carnival rides and amusement games; and the smells and tastes of “food at the fair”.

It’s an entertaining way to spend a warm and sunny early-autumn afternoon. The 2013 edition of the exhibition runs from 21 March to 3 April inclusive.

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