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Tony's poignant Olympic date

20 September 2012

Fordy attends Munich Memorial Ceremony

Tony Ford, Shrewsbury Town's popular fitness coach and a former Olympic weightlifter, was honoured to be invited to attend a Munich Memorial Ceremony during the London Games.
 
Tony represented Great Britain at the 1972 Olympics in Munich when what should have been the highlight of his sporting career was emphatically overshadowed by the murder of 11 Israeli athletes.
 
They included his good friend David Berger, 28, an American-born Israeli weightlifter.
 
Forty years on Tony was invited to a ceremony at London's Guildhall also attended by a host of dignitaries, among them Prime Minister David Cameron, Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, and Dr Jacques Rogge, the President of the International Olympic Committee.
 
"It was the second Monday of the Olympic Games and an invitation from the Israeli Government and the Israeli Olympic Committee," said Tony. "I was very grateful to be asked.
 
"Every Olympics since the 1972 Games each host, Barcelona, Sydney, Atlanta, everywhere, has always had an area set aside to remember those 11 Israeli athletes that were murdered.
 
"London, whoever's job it was, felt it was not to be and in the Oympic Village there was no memorial or memory place to remember that dreadful incident from 1972."
 
Casting his mind back 40 years, Tony insisted what happened in Munich has never left him.
 
"I woke up one morning and my mate who I was competing against was murdered," he said. "He was a good man, always taking the mickey out of me. He was an American Jew and, with his religion, he went to Israel to live for six months and that enabled him to lift for them.  
 
"I felt it was a day the world changed. It's not been the same since. We had never heard the word terrorism, as it's meant today, and all that's happened since.
 
"As an athlete I was there on the day and it should not be forgot."
 
Tony finished 13th out of 42 starters in the light heavyweight division in Munich, setting a British and Commonwealth record in the clean and jerk in the process. 
 
"What happened really upset me," he added. "I had worked hard all my life to achieve making the Olympic Games."


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