'There were more terrorists than German snipers—and the snipers could not communicate with each other or with the officials in charge. Armored cars, which were ordered for backup, got caught in an hour-long traffic jam around the airport.
A gun battle erupted between the German forces and the terrorists on the tarmac, and the athletes, whom the captors had bound one to another in the helicopters that had brought them to the airport, were caught in the middle. When the terrorists realized that they could not escape, they shot the hostages and then threw a grenade into the helicopters to ensure that they were dead.
Competition at the games had continued until mid-afternoon that Tuesday. Only after a barrage of criticism did IOC President Avery Brundage suspend activities. Brundage, who served as president of American Olympic Committee in the 1930s, had been a great admirer of Hitler and, as late as 1971, had insisted that the Berlin games were one of the best ever. In 1936, when some Americans tried to organize a boycott of the games, Brundage fought the effort vigorously until he decided to use it as a fundraising tool. He assumed that Jews who were embarrassed by the threat of a boycott would give to the AOC and help decrease anti-Semitism in the United States. Brundage’s plan apparently came to naught.
At the Munich memorial service, held on Wednesday, Sept. 6, the day after the massacre, Brundage defiantly declared: “The games must go on.”'