FRANKFORT / MAIN (dpa) – The assassination attempt on September 5, 1972 at the Munich Olympics, was perhaps the greatest challenge in Walter Truger’s decades-long career as a sports official.
As mayor of the Olympic Village, he negotiated with Palestinian terrorists who had taken Israeli athletes, coaches and judges hostage. “I was there until the end,” said Truger, who died on Wednesday at the age of 91. “It was my job to continue to extend the warnings.” The attack killed 17 people.
As his family announced, Tröger died peacefully from “age-related causes”. Son Wolfram Troge and his daughter Sabine Gross praised him as someone who used his “sense of responsibility, clarity of decision-making, humanity and reliability” throughout his life in the service of German and international sport.
The International Olympic Committee has emphasized the importance of Tröger’s work for German and international sport. “Walter Turgere made a great contribution to the International Olympic Committee, first as sporting director, then as a member and finally as an honorary member,” said Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee. Over the years, he has worked tirelessly to manage sports and “have greatly influenced” the development of national and world sport.
Born in the Bavarian city of Wunsiedel, the lawyer began his career in sports politics with the General Federation of German Universities, which he helped administer as Secretary General from 1953 to 1961. Tröger then moved to the National Olympic Committee (NOK) in the same position until he was promoted to the position of Director of Sports in International Olympic Committee (1983 to 1990).
In 1992, he succeeded visionary Willie Daume as president of NOK (until 2002) – eventually having one of the most bitter times of his career. In the vote battle for re-election, he lost to Klaus Steinbach. Tröger complained at the time, deeply affected: “I am dissatisfied and feel I have been unfairly treated.” “Of course, this is not the end I envisioned.”
He gained a good reputation in the International Olympic Committee. Frankfurter Rundschau once called him the “eternal Olympian”. From 1989 to 2009 he was a member of the International Olympic Committee and then an honorary member. As Chef de Mission, he captained the German Olympic team eight times at the Games from 1976 to 2002. Tröger has witnessed 27 Olympics since Tokyo in 1964.
The former basketball player was not only an expert in world sports, but also an influential man who clearly expressed his opinion and polarized him. On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the German Olympic Sports Federation (DOSB), for example, he claimed that NOK’s merger with the German Sports Federation (DSB) was a mistake and also the reason for the failure of the three Olympic applications during this period.
Even at the Olympic Games in Rio, he did not hesitate to debate about the total exclusion of Russia due to the systematic doping and the refusal of the ban by the International Olympic Committee. It would be a good idea for the International Olympic Committee to lead by example on this issue. “It’s about the credibility of the sport,” Truger said at the time.
And it has never provided a good report to the International Olympic Committee. “Olympia is in crisis,” he said on the occasion of his 90th birthday in February 2019. Despite the IOC’s 2020 reform agenda, people still believe that the Olympics is only about money and prestige, but not about people’s interests as a host. This is why there is no interest in games in cities in really suitable countries. That is why the International Olympic Committee deals only with “lone woodmen” who “have no idea and do not even think about the Olympic Games.”
The same military employee, who holds the honorary title “Mr. Olympia” cannot be charged correctly. “The Olympics have given me so much – and the Olympics have given me a lot,” Tröger said.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 201231-99-861809 / 5