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Homeland Security



08 July 2005

Sports World Reacts with Horror to Terrorist Attacks in London

Baseball, soccer, International Olympic Committee condemn violence

By Eric Green
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- The sports world has reacted with horror to the July 7 terrorist attacks in London, where scores of people were killed and hundreds injured.

In Washington, a moment of silence for the London victims was observed after the sixth inning of the Major League Baseball game between the New York Mets and the Washington Nationals at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium.  More than 44,000 fans at the July 7 afternoon game rose to their feet to mark the tragedy in London.

Major League Baseball officials were quoted as saying that the league is enhancing security measures for its July 12 All-Star Game in Detroit, Michigan.

Baseball spokesman Rich Levin said that "we are all aware the world we live in is different" since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States.

"As soon as this happened" in London, "our security people were in contact with the local authorities" in Detroit, said Levin.  "Security is always a top priority."

A statement by soccer's International Federation of Football Association (FIFA) expressed the group's "deepest condolences" to the families of the victims and to the people of the United Kingdom as a whole.

In a statement released from the organization's headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, FIFA said the world soccer community has shared "many precious moments in London and Great Britain, the birthplace of the modern game."

"As a result of this terrible tragedy today," FIFA said its heart "truly goes out to the British people, and we wish them courage and strength in the face of these deplorable events."

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), which on July 6 awarded London the right to host the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, said the violence in the British capital was a "despicable terrorist attack."

The IOC said it wished to send a message of support to London "following the tragic events" of July 7.  IOC President Jacques Rogge personally expressed his sympathy in writing to British Prime Minister Tony Blair and to London's Mayor Ken Livingstone.

"I am a very sad man," the IOC's Rogge said.

"It is a very sad fact of society today that tragic and shocking attacks of this nature can happen in any city at any time," said the Olympic committee.  "The IOC's thoughts are with all those who are personally affected."

The IOC said its decision to award London the 2012 summer games was not in question.

"From what we understand, this is not at all related to the Olympic Games," said IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies.  "We have full confidence in the London authorities in securing the event."

London won the IOC vote to host the games, beating Paris, New York, Madrid and Moscow.  Three of the losing 2012 bidders -- New York, Moscow, and Madrid – have previously been victims of devastating terrorist attacks.  Beijing will host the next Summer Olympics in 2008.

Television images showing the jubilation that broke out in Britain following the decision to award the games to London were replaced with expressions of horror on the faces of witnesses and injured victims after four explosions rocked London's underground rail stations and a double-decker bus.

Other reactions in the sports world to the death and destruction in London came from famed American golfer Phil Mickelson, who expressed sorrow and empathy for the victims of the bombings.

Referring to the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, Mickelson said that "we experienced something similar a couple of years ago" and "it is very difficult to deal with."

Mickelson will play in the 134th British Open July 14-17 in St. Andrews, Scotland, as will Michael Campbell of New Zealand, the winner of the 2005 U.S. Open in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

Campbell said he and his fellow golfers are "just shocked and saddened at such an horrific attack on the general public in London."

Other sports events around the world will also take notice of the tragedy in London.  For instance, a minute's silence will be observed in Auckland, New Zealand, before kickoff of a professional rugby game July 8.

A New Zealand rugby official, Steve Tew, called the events in London a "terrible tragedy," but insisted that "we're not going to bow to terrorism."

Graham Henry, coach of one of the rugby teams in the July 8 contest, offered his sympathy with the British people and remarked that the upcoming game "doesn't become that significant when these sorts of things are going on in the world."

For additional information on the London bombings, see Response to Terrorism.

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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