Olympic champion Mary Peters: ‘I feel the terrible loss of life in the name of sport’

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The former pentathlon gold medallist recalls the death threat and horror of Munich 1972, the Troubles, and promoting Belfast

“He warned that if I came home to Belfast I’d be shot and my flat would be bombed,” Mary Peters says of the anonymous man who threatened to kill her after she won gold in the pentathlon at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. The call was made just before, at those same Olympics, the Palestinian group Black September killed two members of the Israeli team and took nine hostages. Seventeen people eventually lost their lives in that terrorist attack.

Peters looks out at the track which bears her name in Belfast and, after all these years, relives the memories – which have been intensified by recent atrocities in Israel and Gaza. “I’d love to meet the person who made the call to know why he did it,” she says of the man who put her in danger at the height of the Troubles. “Of course, my dad wanted me to go to Australia. But I said: ‘No way. I’m going home to Belfast.’ And I’m still here to tell the tale.”

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Written by Donald McRae
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2023/oct/31/olympic-champion-mary-peters-munich-1972-belfast-troubles-pentathlon under the title “Olympic champion Mary Peters: ‘I feel the terrible loss of life in the name of sport’”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.