The Opening Ceremony for the Munich Olympics began on August 26, 1972. Gunter Zahn lit the Olympic Flame, and President Gustav Heinemann officially opened the games.
The Opening Ceremony
The day of the Opening Ceremony was festive and upbeat. Instead of parading into the stadium to the sound of the typical Olympic march over the sound system, each delegation was instead treated to music that represented their specific culture. Each team “danced” their way along the Olympic track to a musical selection that was ethnically unique to them. Greece had wild bouzouki music with zither and cymbals, Egypt entered to music sounding like a belly-dance in a bazaar, Spain danced along to a bullfighting soundtrack, Brazil to a samba, and Argentina to a tango. Mexico heard “The Mexican Hat Dance” and the United States was treated to “When the Saints Go Marching In”.
Five thousand doves, a symbol of peace, were released in the stadium. The Olympic torch was carried in to light the flame that would burn throughout the games. The weather was bright, the mood was cheerful and the comfortable Bavarian town of Munich seemed to be promoting peace and harmony, the exact opposite of the previous 1936 Berlin games, which were shrouded in swastika flags, SS guards and uniformed police.
An excerpt from Germany’s application to the International Olympic Committee sighting why Munich would be an excellent choice as the hosting city for the 1972 Olympic games.
“The City of Munich aspires to be more than a municipal machine, ensuring the efficient technical execution of the Olympic program. We should like to see the Games furnish the opportunity for a great encounter between competitors and visitors, and between these and the townspeople. We should also like to lay special stress on the cultural aspect of the Olympic games. With all its splendid resources at hand, Munich has proposed that the Games should be accompanied by an extensive cultural program, which should form a unit together with the sporting program.”