This week we’re going back to the Munich 1972 Olympics and the massacre that happened there. Author Warren Perrin knew David Berger, the Israeli weightlifter, and he recently wrote a book called The Weight of History, the Power of Apology: Remembering Lifter David Berger 50 Years after the Munich Olympics to memorialize his friend and reflect on what it means to receive an apology for a devastating act.
In our Seoul history moment, Jill wraps up the saga of the yachting competition, this time with the unbelievable events that happened during the two-person heavyweight dinghy competition, also called the Flying Dutchman. You almost have to see it to believe it:
Our TKFLASTANIs have been busy this week! We have news from:
Bad news from Paris 2024, as the authorities raided both the Paris 2024 offices and that of SOLIDEO, the public body responsible for infrastructure for the Games. Authorities have been investigating the two groups for years and are looking at alleged embezzlement of public funds and favoritism. Just what the Olympic Movement needs after Tokyo 2020, etc.
But news from Milan-Cortina 2026 is on the more interesting side, with some adjustments made to a few events. See if you can hear the subtle athlete quota changes happening here. Does that predict something for the 2030 Games?
Thanks so much for listening, and until next time, keep the flame alive!
Photo courtesy of Warren Perrin
Note: This is an uncorrected machine-generated transcript. It contains errors. Please do not quote from the transcript; use the audio file as the record of note.
Author Warren Perrin on Munich 1972 Victim David Berger (Episode 292)
Jill: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Keep the Flame Alive, the podcast for fans of the Olympics and Paralympics. If you love the games, we are the show for you. Each week we share stories from athletes and people behind the scenes to help you have more fun watching the games. I’m your host, Jill Jaracz, joined as always by my lovely co-host, Alison Brown.
Alison, hello, how are you?
Alison: I am feeling underdressed because we were just having a rhythmic gymnastics conversation and I feel like I need some nude mesh. And some crystals. And some
Jill: beads. I was gonna say, how do you feel underdressed, because half of their costume is nude. Let’s mesh. But it’s designed to make it look like there’s nothing there.
Alison: Well, we did talk about the rule changes on our Patreon show, and we should see some differences in the costumes this time around. I
Jill: am looking forward to that myself. I don’t, I don’t know why I, and so rarely look forward to things in the world of rhythmic gymnastics, but I am really looking forward to Paris 2024 for a variety of reasons we were talking about before the show.
Also, because I want to see the volunteer job you wanted during Tokyo 2020, which is picking up the crystals and beads that have fallen off the costumes, and I wanna see that volunteer job in action. The cri, the crystal cleaner. I wonder if they have a, I bet they just call it aid assistant.
Alison: Yeah, the bead baby.
Jill: See, we can do better \ at titling these [00:02:00] volunteer jobs, so, I don’t have a good segue to not,
Alison: not a good segue for what we’re gonna talk about today, but that’s all right. Let’s just go with it.
Jill: So, so today we are talking about Munich 1972 and the massacre. There we have on with us lawyer and historian Warren Perrin Warren is the co-founder of the Acadian Heritage and Culture Foundation, which celebrates the French culture of Louisiana.
He is also the author of several books, the latest of which is The Weight of History, the Power of Apology, remembering Lifter David Berger, 50 years after the Munich Olympics. And that gets into the interesting connection that Perrin had with David Berger during their weightlifting careers. Take a listen.
Warren Perrin Interview
Jill: Warren Perrin, you’ve written the Weight of History, the Power of Apology, remembering Lifter David Berger, 50 years after the Munich Olympics. Thank you so much for joining us.
Warren Perrin: Thank you for having me.
Jill: Tell us a little bit about why you wanted to write about David Berger and why now.
Warren Perrin: I’m 76 years old, and the older I get, the more I found myself thinking about that era of my life. In the sixties when I was a national champion, Olympic weightlifter, David Berger was a national champion, Olympic weightlifter, and another mutual friend Walter, a Mahara, an Asian American, was a national champion.
And how that has in inspired me. In so many ways of my life. And so I wrote a very short 500 word letter to the editor, to the na state’s largest newspaper. And I just reminisced about my relationship with him and how he had sacrificed so much to compete in the Olympics. And after reaching that goal, within 72 hours, he was dead.
And somehow that article reached the family. David’s brother and his [00:04:00] sister, and they contacted me and thanked me for that. And that led to a book with them giving me permission and sharing with me all of David’s personal artifacts, memorabilia, scrapbook. So it allowed me to tell a rich part of his life and compare it to mine and an Asian Americans.
Jill: Tell us a little bit about how you met David Berger, cuz it’s interesting you live in Louisiana and I actually live in Cleveland. So David Berger grew up on the east side of Cleveland. And how did he end up in Louisiana?
Warren Perrin: He attended Chilean University, which is one of outstanding universities in the country and there are a lot of Jewish people who attend Tulane.
And um, he also knew. Louisiana had become a hotbed for the sport of weightlifting, primarily because of the New Orleans Athletic Club, which had a very strong team and David figured he could work out with them. The New Orleans Athletic Club is the second oldest athletic club in the country, the first being the New York Athletic Club.
And so David was an outstanding student. He, his dad used to love to say, David was always the strongest student in the classroom and the smartest weightlifter in the weight room. He was always number one in his class. Phenomenal student. And uh, so he saw an opportunity, I think to blend both his preparation for the Olympics and at the same time get an outstanding degree from Chilean University.
Jill: do you remember when you met, um,
Warren Perrin: I can’t say the exact day, but it was over a period of years. I was still in high school and my older brother, Terry, was a competitive weightlifter, also national champion with the team from the University of [00:06:00] Louisiana. And so Terry would bring me along. To the college and high school meets.
And uh, I was actually lifting when I was only 12 years old, so I was exposed to all of these lifters at a young age. But I certainly recall knowing him when I was say 17, 18, a senior in high school. I won the state Louisiana weightlifting Championships and he was there at that time at that meet.
He would help out cuz he was working out not only at Tulane but also. Working out at the place where the meats were held, the, uh, Y M C A and the New Orleans Athletic Club, what impressed me the most, we could speak French to each other. I’m a native Cajun French speaker and I’m from a, a small little hamlet near the edge of the swamps in South Louisiana, and David was a French major, and so we had this in common.
It I of course had never met a Jewish person being in southern Louisiana where everybody was Catholic. And he had never met a Cajun and. Know I knew the history of these many deportations that the Jewish people had endured, but he had no idea that the Acadian people had also been deported from Nova Scotia in 1755.
So we just shared so many of these interesting interests and commonalities. We are drawn to each other cause of that.
Jill: What was it about weightlifting that you liked? What drew you to the sport?
Warren Perrin: I grew up feeling on, on the margin, marginalized my culture. We were told not to speak French in school and public buildings. I went to a small school. My class had 12 students. I like to brag. I finished 30 in my class, but I didn’t tell anybody.
There were only 12 students. And so it I needed something just to be successful at, [00:08:00] and my brother introduced me to the sport and I took a liking to it immediately and, uh, started winning competitions at an early age. And there’s nothing like I. Competing with an inanimate object, gravity, a weight.
There’s nobody else to blame. It’s just you against gravity. And the challenge was every workout trying to do better than you did before. So it’s not like running a hundred yard dash, you’re gonna run the a hundred yards. It might take you a little longer every time you practice and weightlifting, it’s different because you either make or you don’t make the lift.
And so it’s really challenging mentally to want to succeed to actually accomplish a speed lift, like a snatch, clean and jerk, or the Olympic press.
Jill: What qualities did you have that made you a good weightlifter, and what qualities did David have that made him a good weightlifter?
Warren Perrin: He had the ability to never miss a workout. As far as I knew he was. It was number one in his life, the dedication. Not only the time I knew him, but as I did the book and did the research and started interviewing his. Teammates. His roommate at Tulane I interviewed his friends after he moved to Israel, and it was unbelievable what he sacrificed to do, including having to sign an agreement with the Israeli government that he would agree to take anaerobic steroids, which he knew was not healthy, but he did it anyway.
Now, I was not, As dedicated as he was. For me it was the comradery. Being on a national team, winning gold medals and winning trophies and traveling. That was a lot of fun. But I knew once I met my future [00:10:00] wife, I was gonna go to law school and that was gonna be the end of my weightlifting career. So I had a short-term goal.
David had a long-term goal.
Jill: On the steroids bit the, it’s kind of an interesting time because there is no anti-doping agency. There’s no I mean they’re new and it’s just like, oh, here’s these pills that can make you better, make you a better weightlifter. Wouldn’t you wanna take them? They’re just kind of like vitamins.
What was the attitude towards anabolic steroids? I. In your circles or how you saw it in the weightlifting community at large?
Warren Perrin: I never took them. They were offered to me. The one lifter, Louis Rickey, who was with the New Orleans Athletic Club, he was the Guinea pig that was used from the get go, and he went so quickly in increasing his weights.
Everybody knew there was something. That was not on the up and up. It had never been. It never happened before where Lifter went from being pretty good to breaking world records and defeating the best in the world. And so he, in his book, said he was told it was vitamins and they were using isometrics, and that’s what the key was.
But in fact, they were giving him steroids and ultimately, He, thank God he, he eventually fessed up to it when they told him the truth. And he never hid that fact. But he would go to weightlifting meets and the crowds would boo him because they knew there was something. Now I was a part of that era, so I was hearing the stories that it wasn’t good for you.
Don’t fool with that. You’re gonna get hooked. You’re gonna lose your health. So I was aware of all of that. And I know David was also because he was, Little older than me. So he was a little ahead of the curve [00:12:00] than I was. And I can tell you his father was a neurosurgeon and he was raised knowing what’s good and not good for your body.
So there’s no doubt he expressed that to many of his friends. He knew he was jeopardizing his health, but he did it anyway.
Jill: Right? Because at the. At that level, there’s a fair amount of countries wanting to win at all costs. I mean, we’re still at height of Cold War where the gains were used to show country dominance.
So did you could, did you know David or. Was he already did he, had he already left Louisiana by the time he started having to take the
Warren Perrin: steroids? I don’t know if he took them while he was in Louisiana. My investigation found from Sharon Smith who would drive him to get the injections, who actually was one of his closest friends in Israel and who actually could confirm to me.
He even had to join the Israeli army. He had a draft notice sitting on his desk. Had he not been killed, he would’ve had to report to the Israeli army, and he was a pacifist. So the steroids, I don’t know when that started, but certainly we know it was the two years that he was in training for the Israeli Olympic team.
And David being a pacifist, saw the Olympics as the ultimate way to achieve world peace. And he was sanctioned by the Israeli Olympic Committee for working out with some Russians when they went to a meet in Europe. And despite the warnings, he persisted with his relationship with some of the Russian weightlifters.
So he was, had strong and had some very strong beliefs, but he did what he had to do to compete in the Olympics.
Jill: So Munich 1972 was the last time that the weightlifting [00:14:00] competition had these three elements of the snatch and the clean and jerk, which we still have today, but they also had the press. What was the press? Can you explain how that
Warren Perrin: worked? Initially, it was the military press. You brought it to your shoulders, and then you had to bring it above your head without any other body movements.
But you can’t do as much unless you do body movement. So everyone started exaggerating over the decades, and it became uncontrollable where there was so much cheating, we would actually train for two hours a day how to cheat. We developed our own vocabulary on fing how you would not bend your knees, but come as close as you could without the referee seeing it.
So you would cover your knees, you would roll work, fake bandages, so the ref couldn’t see that your knee was unlocking and you would lay back and it put tremendous stress on your lower spine. And they saw many injuries developing. So it was a combination of the injuries that were developing and the inability to make it.
A fair competition cuz if you went compete in Russia with Russian judges during the Cold War, guess who got the green buttons? And guess who got the red buttons? So the judge had so much subjectivity it became, it was almost ruin the sport and that’s why Munich was the last time the Olympic press is part of the competition.
And it’s also grueling. It, it took to compete the way we did it took 10, sometimes 12 hours of competition. So that was too stressful on the body. And so that helped out a lot time wise.
Jill: Wow. 10, 10, 12 hours of competition, which is a very long day. But it also seems like as you mentioned, like you can only [00:16:00] lift so much weight.
So if the desire is to keep seeing more Humans becoming superhuman by living, lifting more and more weight. There’s only so much you’re gonna be able to do, and then competitions get kind of boring. Is that also an element of why the cheating and the fudging got put into it?
Warren Perrin: Yes, but we were competing not just for individual glory, our team, the University of Louisiana, Set a record. We won eight national championships in 13 years, and we did this without a coach, so there was nobody to hold us back. I mean, we went to competitions without a coach. So we had to decide among ourselves who was gonna compete, where we had the best chance to score points.
And so, it was this comradery, this band of brothers that felt so good and. We even split the team up once and went to two meets and one both meets, one in New Orleans and one in Texas. That’s how powerful we were. So that’s the kind of thing that Drew David to us. He wanted to be a part of that culture in Louisiana that was so, so new to the whole country.
At a time when most athletes were prohibited from weight training for other sports. The belief was it made you muscle bound, you lost flexibility. You wouldn’t be able to throw a ball as fast or as hard. That today, we all know is debunked. There’s not one high school in America that doesn’t have a weight room.
I mean, it’s just part of the culture now. But we were avan guards. We were on the cutting edge of something new, and so every time we could figure out a way to gain an advantage, we did it.
Jill: Looking at Munich 1972, when did you find out that David was going, that he qualified?
Warren Perrin: Oh, we all followed him cuz we were about a hundred in the south in the sport and we all knew he was the only one that had made it. Walter [00:18:00] Omaha, the Asian I mentioned would’ve probably made the US team, but for an injury.
He was a member of our team, so when Walter didn’t make it, we all turned our eyes to David because we all knew, he had told us he was going to immigrate to Israel when he didn’t make the US team. And so w we just, we followed him. I mean, he was like our shining star. He was the only one that we knew in the entire Olympics or any person that ever went to the Olympics that any of us knew.
And so, when the news hit, I mean, we all called each other and it was a very sad time for all of us. How much did you know what was happening in Munich prior to the terrorist attack? I knew absolutely nothing. I was not in contact with him. The only person that I was getting news was from Walter Almaha.
Walter. Went with his wife Sumi, to the Olympics to see David Lift. They had been on the team together and represented the United States, an international competition in Mexico. So, Walter was letting us know how things were going. He was shocked that there was so little security at the Olympics, and that, as we later found out, was part of the problem.
Now, the attack didn’t occur till I think, The 12th day of the Olympics. So I think the municipal police and the security sort of felt that they had weathered the storm it was over with and they weren’t gonna have any problems. And that’s when Black September struck. But as far as I know, I was just watching TV every time I’d get off of work.
I was a young attorney working for a judge as a law clerk. He gave me a lot of time off to watch a lot of the Olympics, and I’ve certainly Was on pins and needles when it was time for the weightlifting competition.
[00:20:00] So the terrorist attack happens. What was, I mean, we’ve all seen the footage of Jim McKay and the other broadcasters. What was happening for you when it was so personal? My wife and I had just had our first baby, Rebecca. And I was watching T TV and when they announced that it was over with that they were all dead.
I can just remember Rebecca crying and we walked into the bedroom and I remember we just hugged each other because Mary had met David once at a meet here in Lafayette and she knew how much that meant to all of us. And then kind of picking up the baby and just consoling her. That’s my memory of learning of his death.
And then what was the reaction within that community? Were you in communication with each other? I mean, obviously there’s no cell phones, there’s no texting. So what was the communication? No I called some of the guys, you know, we spoke I knew Walter was over there. We couldn’t communicate with him.
So, several of us called each other and just wondered what had happened and. We basically watched the ceremony the next day in Olympic Stadium. They suspended the games for I think 36 hours. And Avery Brundage made the famous speech that the games must go on. I think something very ironic took place, I didn’t mention this in the book, but on retrospect, the Palestinians had requested permission to send athletes to the Olympics.
And they were turned down. And the Israelis, as soon as the incident took place golden Maier called back the entire team back to Israel. So the irony was Israel didn’t get to compete in the full Olympics, but the Palestinians showed up uninvited as terrorists. What did you think about the games continuing?
That’s a good question, which I’ve really never [00:22:00] considered. I think that it, at the time, it was probably the right thing to do, cuz if they had canceled the games, who knows what would’ve happened? You’d have had the anti-Israeli athletes per perhaps boycott. So that was the whole issue, trying to keep the games intact, trying to keep ’em going.
I think, which shocked the whole world. It was the first time the Olympics had been hijacked in real time. And it was the one thing that the international community felt the whole world came together in peace and they couldn’t, and they didn’t. And the Palestinian calls ultimately prevailed. Cause the next week, everybody in the world knew.
The Palestinian calls before that, they had been shunned and ignored. So it was a tough call. The more controversial part is how the Olympics dealt with it in the ensuing years by not making a, an effort to memorialize it properly until just 50 years. It took 50 years for them to say, we’re sorry we goofed up.
That’s the tragedy. That’s what hurt the Berger family so much because David’s father, Dr. Ben Berger, spent his entire life trying to get them to simply acknowledge by a moment of silence, and they would not do it. They gradually did it in baby steps, in certain ways. In Rio, they did a small memorial in the Olympic Village.
They just kind of slow, walked it. That was wrong.
Alison: . So let’s talk about that 50
Warren Perrin: years and what was happening and what your involvement was with the Burger Family and with getting that moment acknowledged.
I went about it a little different way. I will tell you that. By Walter Aha, the Asian American getting an apology from the United States government [00:24:00] for the internment of his family, and 125,000 Japanese after Pearl Harbor. That inspired me to launch. A redemptive effort on behalf of my ancestors who were deported by the Queen and the British government, which led to a 15 year quest ultimately obtaining an apology from Queen Elizabeth II for the Acadian deportation that was issued in 2003, 20 years ago, this July.
I have to tell you that because I, that was all inspired by David Berger. Walter Ama Harris, ancestry and Tragedies. We all come from minorities in America, and they taught me how to address. I knew efforts from the Burger family was going on unsuccessfully, and so by launching the book, it allowed me to get closer to those who were in those in the.
In the field trying to get it acknowledged. Getting to talk to those attorneys that were in the effort and negotiating with the German government where they ultimately obtained what they wanted, which is three things. An acknowledgement that the security was totally lax, a botched rescue, and most maddening, a coverup.
They covered up documents for 50 years. Those are finally being released to a six person commission that will ultimately write a report on the Munich Olympic tragedy.
Jill: when you think about it all in, in one. One or two sentences like that. The idea that it’s taken 50 plus years for a commission to come about when we deal in America, we have commissions all the time that take place right after events. And this commission that’s 50 years later.[00:26:00] what is the hopeful outcome,
Warren Perrin: number one. Security Now, at the time this happened, the only government in the world that had a special class to fight terrorism was Israel. Golden Maier offered to send Moad to liberate her own athletes, but the German constitution following World War II prohibited foreign. Government sending any type of security or military force into Germany.
That’s why it was left totally to the hands of the municipal police. The German government had no hand in this. They were totally hands off. They deferred to the local municipal police of Munich. So why? What led to this? Hopefully there’ll be more understanding on better security. The coverup, I mean, I was able to obtain David’s death certificate, which by the way, was signed by the same doctor who gave him steroids and who examined his body, and that was the first time the family had never even known the cause of his death.
They thought he was blown up by a hand grenade when in fact he died of smoke inhalation because of the lax attempt by the fire department to put out the fire. Which was caused by hand grenade exploding beneath the helicopter. I mean, these are the type of things if you’re not part of something like this you don’t realize how important these unveiling of these details are to the families.
And so it’s not just David’s family. I mean, it’s, there’s many other athletes who were killed. There were 11 who have children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren that are still demanding answers to this. Okay. Did you have a lot of communication with those families? I mean, I was familiar with Anke Spitzer’s work on this, but how in touch were you with other families besides the burgers?
Not directly with those families. I did reach out to ’em a couple of times, but when [00:28:00] I was trying to complete the book, it was a very hectic time. I was trying to complete it in September of last year for the anniversary, September 5th. Then I started hearing and getting emails that a flurry of activities going on.
Big things are getting ready to happen. It’s just not gonna be what is was envisioned to be. Just a simple memorial ceremony. When the Israeli families announced they were gonna boycott the entire event. So I put, I, I put my book release on hold cuz I wanted to include in my book what actually transpired for the anniversary.
So it hopefully gives my book more of a final chapter. I could close on that part. Of the Munich Olympics, I was more in touch with family Berg’s family, his high school, his college, his friends in he later went to Columbia University between Tulane and Israel. He got double degrees in four years from Columbia University in law.
And an MBA in business, credible feat to get double majors in four years. And so he was working out with a lot of people in New York City. So I’ve interviewed several of those teammates and coaches. In fact, one of his coaches from New York City is the one who called David’s parents and told him that David had been killed because he was in charge of the American Weightlifting Federation.
Alison: your reaction to the moment at the Tokyo opening ceremonies when they did acknowledge the death of those athletes?
Warren Perrin: It was a, a nice feeling of redemption. I knew that his parents would’ve been happy, and that’s what his siblings told me. They would’ve been very, very happy if they had been able to live to see that event.
Because they were very active people. They had called upon everyone [00:30:00] not to retaliate. His father issued press releases begging the Israeli government not to take an eye for an eye. He, they, they said David would not have wanted that to happen. And we know what happened that they launched a 20 year campaign.
To kill everyone had anything to do with it. They actually killed several innocent people. Several of the Israeli agents were killed. And uh, one of the most chilling things I learned was that David’s father got a call from someone with Mosad one night and told him that. His son would rest in peace because they had finally completed their mission.
Everyone had been killed and that did not please Dr. Berger at all.
Alison: know that moment in Tokyo was going to happen ahead of time or did it shock you the way it shocked us?
Warren Perrin: No, I had no idea. It, it really shocked me. I didn’t realize that they would be so open about it. And the apology was really an amazing thing to see cuz governments usually don’t apologize.
They usually use some nice words like we acknowledge wrongs and we won’t do it again. But it was a heartfelt get on your knees apology. And I thought that was wonderful.
Jill: Do you think that there should be continued moments of silence in that it should be just a part of the opening ceremonies going forward, or is one apology enough?
Warren Perrin: I think it should be part of it going forward to remember those not only killed by violence, but those who have perished competing. It, what’s the harm in saying?
Let’s remember. I mean, I view this book as a form of remembrance of a portion of a person’s life that is meaningful to me as a [00:32:00] person. And hopefully it’ll touch other people when they read the whole story. And so by remembering, it helps us not to forget. And it helps us not to commit the same errors.
Alison: favorite memory of David Berger?
Warren Perrin: Having him volunteer to spot me, although we were competing against each other in the middleweight class. I have a, a great memory of him. Whenever you’re trying a record attempt, it’s always good to ask for spotters to come in case you. You drop the weight and you don’t want to get hurt.
And so to have your competitor offer to spot you show at a lot of sportsmanship. I invited him to come to Lafayette for one of our meets and put him up in a home and we gave him some Cajun food and I think he first time he had ever heard of or eaten a crawfish, but he was really taken with the Cajun culture.
He was fascinated that we still had preserved our language. After having been deported from French Canada over 250 years ago, found that fascinating. As do many people today in the book, you detailed a lot of ways that people are keeping David’s memory and legacy alive with naming things after him, and scholarships and gyms and that beautiful mur mural at the high school.
Alison: What do you wanna see as David’s legacy? What do you wanna see people remember about this?
Warren Perrin: The dedication to sport and what sport can do for peace. And I, I conclude the book by making a very honest suggestion, not macro, but micro future to prevent violent extremists in the future that are usually young men that don’t have economic opportunities.
David’s story gives us hope that by the use of sport, And there is an ongoing program now, which is financed by Qatar [00:34:00] through the United Nations to provide funding to help young, economically challenged men compete in sport and get understanding of other cultures. That’s David’s story. I mean, the poem to an athlete dying Young by Houseman is so poignant on that.
It’s the athlete achieving glory. And then being dead. It’s the knowledge that he died, happy he died, knowing his records won’t be broken. And that, that’s, to me, that’s David’s story. The tragedy is there, but the story is a powerful one of a pacifist sacrificing his marriage to his high school sweetheart, his career as a lawyer and going to a country and joining the army.
To be able to be an athlete and compete knowing you probably won’t medal. And he didn’t medal. He actually missed one of his cleaning and jerks and he tried it again and again and he could not make you have to compete at least one lift in the snatch and clean and jerk to be in contention for a medal.
So he was eliminated, but that reason. But he had a dinner with his brother and sister. That night and told him he was very pleased. He had been able to compete and Barbara asked him, when are you coming home, David and prophetically. He said, I’ll be coming home for marriages and funerals, and he was brought home in a coffin.
Alison: Do you watch the Olympics now with trepidation that something’s gonna go wrong? Does that sit with you?
Warren Perrin: No, no. If you just look at the amount of money they’re spending now on security, it like quadruples every four years. It’s phenomenal the money that was spent on the last Olympics. So, no,[00:36:00] that doesn’t concern me.
One of the things your listeners might find interesting is I researched and located the. Records from the Watergate tapes when President Nixon called Dr. Berger and expressed sympathy. And Dr. Berger appreciated the call from the president, but he commented to his wife, doc, he just seemed insincere and unemotional.
And, and so that always piqued my interest. And so by getting the, those Watergate tapes were released. Recently and, um, I found there was a discussion among his executive staff, probably Haldeman suggested he make the call. He said, if you don’t wanna make the call, we’ll get another Jewish member of the executive branch either Kissinger or someone else to make the call.
And, uh, Nixon reluctantly said yes. He said, you know, you can’t trust those Jews. You know, they. Th they were responsible for the release of the water day Ella Ginsburg tapes. Those Ginsburg tapes exposed the crimes of the administration through the Vietnam War, and El Ginsburg just died, I think last week.
But Nixon had expressed openly before and after the call. His distrust. Of the Jewish members of the government, especially in the Department of Labor, which he claimed they were giving false information to wreck his reelection campaign. So another side story, but it’s interesting to uncover history.
Jill: you you’ve done a lot of research for the book so is there anything else that was interesting that didn’t necessarily make it into the book?
Warren Perrin: A lot. It was difficult to decide what to leave out. what I found one of the most fascinating [00:38:00] remembrances of David is the, uh, the sculpture that was financed by members of the friends and family of the burgers in Ohio.
It’s in a national park, by the way. It’s the smallest national park in America, cuz it just holds the sculpture. Remembering David’s life. And it’s the five Olympic colored rings that are broken and the broken parts point to the ground and upward, they split, but they point as a foundation for the future, hope they reach up to the heavens.
And so I think that’s my, my goal is to visit that when I go give a talk in David’s hometown of Shaker Heights. I’ll be giving a talk in October and I hope to visit that site and meet many of his friends from elementary and high school. Shaker Heights.
Jill: You may meet me, I may show up.
I was gonna say,
That would be great. Well, Warren, thank you so much for joining us and talking about the book. We really appreciate your time.
Warren Perrin: Thank you for having me. Master Boku.
Jill: Thank you so much, Warren. You can find out firstname.lastname@example.org and Warren has a Facebook page, so look for that under Warren Parent and we will have links to both of those in the show notes.
Seoul 1988 History Moment
Jill: Ah, that sound means it is time for our history moment and all year long. We are looking at the soul 1988 games as it is the 35th anniversary of those games. I follow up from last week cuz I. I really did do a massive deep dive into rhythmic gymnastics after your story, because I was so curious about the live music element.
And if you’re part of our Facebook group, you will have seen I, I did find, A routine set to [00:40:00] percussion, and it is quite interesting. I will tell you that it was really
Alison: good. You spent way too much time on YouTube watching these, but I think rhythmic gymnastics is moving up on our list of sports. We have never talked about.
That we need to cover more, more extensively? Oh,
Jill: definitely. Most definitely. So, uh, today I, as promised, I have yet another story from the crazy world of Sailing at Seoul 1988. We’re going back to the Bay in Posan. With one last story. This time it is from the Flying Dutchman or two person heavyweight dingy competition.
This race was a triumphant return for Irishman, David Wilkins, who was making his fourth Olympic appearance, and this was his first Olympics after his silver place finished in 1980, and that was the first time Ireland won a sailing medal. In the Olympic Games, and, I believe he was given the medal by Lord Kannon.
So it was a whole, you know, I know you love that stuff. So it was a whole big deal. So, Wilkins had to skip 1984 because could not get time off of work. You know, different world, totally different world back then. We’re gonna have to have
Alison: a chat with his boss. Oh, can I have vacation to go compete at the Olympics?
Yeah. I won a silver medal last time. I can’t do an Irish accent, so I’m, and the guy says, no,
Jill: you know. Judy calls, I guess you got a family to feed. I believe he had children by that point. So he really did need the need gas.
Alison: Well, he was Irish, of course he had children.
Jill: Oh, snap. Anyway, so David Wilkins was back for 1988 and he is hoping to get gold. So that hope was almost sadly that hope was dashed.
Almost immediately in race one. As you remember, the sailing competition was held in Pusan, which was a main port for South Korea. [00:42:00] Well, Wilkins and his crew, Peter Kennedy, started off the first race. Well, they were in the top four, and then a container ship came through the area
and cut ’em off.
They were forced to tack away from the best route because of the container ship, and they fell way behind and settled for 15th. In that race, the container ship affected three other boats. So they protested the race results, but they got nowhere with the jury and they were stuck with 15th place. Wilkins told the university times that today that race would probably have been abandoned and restarted, but you know, back in the day.
Rules were very much different. So, one would think that it might be okay because in sailing you get to drop your worst placement. So if everything else goes according to plan, they would be still in the thick of the metal race. Of course. Did not go to plan because in another race of this regatta, they were leading by a really great distance.
They’d gotten their sail placement perfect. They were speeding along, and the boat suddenly slowed down. And the university time story I found said it was like they’d begun dragging along an anchor. Well, what happened was that their centerboard caught on a piece of plastic with tar on it. Which is a one in a million chance that this is gonna happen, and they were forced to capsize their boat to get the car, the tar off of it, and that didn’t work.
So they had to get back in the boat and finish the race with the tar on the boat. And they finished just way down in the field. And two bad finishes was too, too many for Wilkins. They did have a first place finish and two others in the top 10 of their regatta, but it wasn’t enough to lift them up in the standings and they finished 10th over all.
And I have one other interesting story from the flying [00:44:00] Dutchman. two person heavyweight dingy competition, and that is the Israeli team of Ed Amir and Ul Sala finished fourth. They started off, well, they got six in their first race, but then the second race fell over Yum Kippur and the Israeli Olympic Committee for bathed their athletes from competing and during the rest of the regatta.
They continued to do well. They had two first place finish and then they had a lousy finish in the fifth race and they were stuck with a bad result and they ended up finishing fourth place missing out on winning what would’ve been Israel’s first Olympic medal ever.
Alison: That makes me so both stories make me so sad.
Jill: Yeah, I guess I’m ending the sailing competition on a down note, but
Alison: at least no one died. Considering some of the other stories you told, that actually is was a serious consideration.
Jill: Well, the whole sailing competition is just really interesting in what organizers have to do and what international federations go through to put on games and how much they have to deal with
Alison: the weather.
Well, we’ll have to check with Maggie Shea and Stephanie Roble. They are scaling in the test event for Paris to make sure there is no tar, there are no container ships, there are no people flailing about in the water.
Jill: Somehow, I think a lot of lessons were learned from Soul 1988.
Alison: Welcome Tostan,
Jill: and now is the time of the show where we check in with our team, keep the flame alive. These are past guests and listeners of the show who make up our citizenship of our very own country schon. First off, congratulations to Boxer Ginny Fuchs for winning her fight against India Smith by unanimous decision this past weekend.[00:46:00]
Her pro record is now three and oh, and she’s looking for her next fighting up. Who’s also talking on Twitter? Maybe it’s time to take a shot at a world title. Go for it, Ginny. The
Alison: documentary Para Gold featuring Para Dressage writer Sydnee Collier is now available to stream on Amazon and Apple tv.
Jill: I do not have Amazon or Apple tv, so let me know what you think of it. Congratulations to Bobsledder AJ Aman, who earned his MBA from Yale School of Management.
He’s looking for a job, so check out his LinkedIn profile. We’ll have a link to that in the show
Alison: notes. Happy Retirement to Gia, BCIA player, Allison Levine, service dog. she served Allison for a few days, shy of 11 years. So happy retirement. Gia,
Jill: former Biathlete, Claire Egan has been helping out at US Biathlon training camps.
Are you really ever
Alison: a former Biathlete?
Jill: I’m not sure. I think they just keep you roped in, but she’s still connected to the community and helping up the next generation
Alison: and book club. Claire will be going on her postpone trip to Tokyo. You can follow along on Insta at. Light the cauldron and poro the tanooki.
So it’s Poro underscore the underscore tanooki. She’s got the Tokyo National Stadium on her agenda, so we are looking forward to seeing pictures of her there.
Jill: And a reminder that the June 23rd, which is this Friday is Olympic Day and this celebrates the founding of the International Olympic Committee and is a day that you should go out and be active. So please let us know what you plan to do.
Paris 2024 Update
Jill: You know, we have such a happy theme for our Paris 2024. How fast you say next.
Alison: Did I wanna get on the phone with Andy Spalding, our corruption attorney? After I heard this story,
Jill: we should see what he thinks.
Alison: I, I’m, I got an email out to
Jill: him. [00:48:00] So, hey, guess what? We have some potential corruption going on within the Paris 2024 organizing Committee.
The Paris 2024 offices, as well as the offices of Sola Deyo, the public body responsible for delivering the games infrastructure. The Paris 2024 investigation launched in 2017 over contract issues and favoritism. The Sola DEO investigation started in 2022.
After an audit by the French anti-corruption agency, authorities are looking at alleged embezzlement of public funds and favoritism. Paris 2024 so far has said it has been transparent with its contract progress. With its contract process and is cooperating with investigators. And as you can imagine, the I O C has nothing to say because the investigation is ongoing.
And this comes at an interesting time because the I O C executive board is meeting right now and there will be an extraordinary session this week. I can only imagine what was said behind closed doors.
Alison: Extraordinary indeed.
Milan-Cortina 2026 Update
Alison: Hey, we have a story about Milan that does not involve corruption, that does not involve things running over budget, and that does not involve people fighting with each other. This is amazing.
Jill: I know. So, the I O C announced that four events from Milan Cortina 2026 will have name and format changes.
So the ski alpine combined is changing from an individual alpine combined event to a team combined event. So, instead of the. Individual needing to be a technician and a speed, sir, they’re spreading that out to a two person team that will be two athletes of the same gender from the same National Olympic Committee competing together.
One can be the speed specialist, one can be the technical specialist. This is in resulting from the fact that the f i s, the International [00:50:00] Federation also changed that event within their competition, so their. The Olympics is following suit in Nordic. Combined the men’s team format will switch from the team Gunderson large hill, four by five kilometers, which is four athletes to a team sprint, large hill, which will be two athletes skiing 7.5 kilometers.
This event will be made up of teams of two athletes of the same gender. Which is men because women don’t compete in order combine. And if you noticed, that is a quota reduction. For Men’s Nordic combined ski jumping, also looking at a quota reduction.
The men’s team jumping event is going from four athletes to two athletes. So what I love about this is the name of the event will switch from men’s team to men’s super team.
Alison: I think it should be men’s concentrated team.
Jill: So mostly in the ski jumping, this means that the quota for athletes get spread over to the women’s side. there will be more equality in that event. And then the final one is In cross country, they are aligning all of the distances so that men’s and women’s distances will both be the same.
Alison: You kind of buried the lead on this one. Yeah. That’s a big change where they’re going to adjust the distances where they’re going to be the same women. Cross-country skiers have been asking for this for several cycles. They’ve been doing this in swimming, they’ve been doing this in some other sports, so this is a nice.
Balance that should have been achieved a long time ago.
Jill: Exactly. Biathlon, looking at you, you’re next. Let’s just get in line here. So that is going to do it for this week. Let us know what you think about the IOCs dealing of the Munich 1972 massacre.
Alison: [00:52:00] You can connect with us on Twitter and Instagram at Flame Alive Pod.
Email us at flame alive pod gmail.com. Call or text us at (208) 352-6348. That’s 2 0 8. Flame it. Be sure to join the Keep the Flame Alive Podcast group on Facebook. And don’t forget to get our weekly newsletter filled with other fun stories about this week’s episode. You can sign up at our new website, which is still flame alive
Jill: We would like to give a special thank you to our intern Annalee Deabel for doing research for this episode, and next week we will have a lot to catch up on. There’s Olympic Day, it’s eSports week. The whole boxing situation will have a decision and there’s likely more excitement to come in the world of the Olympics and Paralympics, so please join us for that.
Thank you so much for listening, and until next time, keep the flame alive.