"It's canceled," a German told me. "But you can get a new ticket."
With properly stamped rain checks in hand, we headed back to the car and on to a beer garden downtown for dinner. The scene was packed with Olympic partygoers hoisting enormous steins of beer.
Hours later, we drove along the autobahn to Augsburg, making plans to attend the makeup game. We pulled into a rest stop to stretch our legs. In the distance, toward Fuerstenfeldbruck air base, we saw flashes of light. We assumed it was heat lightning.
But looking back, and judging from the hour — around 11 p.m. — the flashes must have been the battle in which the Israelis all died. The Germans persuaded the gunmen to fly with their hostages by helicopter to the air base, where they would board a plane to an Arab country.
Instead, the Germans had laid an ambush. Five German snipers lay in wait around the tarmac.
In the darkness, the snipers failed to kill their targets. The gunmen fired back. One of them tossed a grenade into the helicopter where some of the hostages were bound and blindfolded. The other Israelis were raked with machine gun fire. Five of the Palestinians died in the gun battle; three were captured alive.
Brundage refused to cancel the rest of the games, and we returned for the makeup match. Hungary beat Germany 4-1 and went on to claim the silver medal. Jewish athletes from other countries were evacuated for their own security.
Sporting wise, there was much to remember about the 1972 Summer Games: American swimmer Mark Spitz's record seven gold medals; the emergence of Soviet gymnast Olga Korbut on the world stage; Frank Shorter becoming the first American to win the Olympic marathon in 64 years; and a controversial 50-49 loss by the Americans to the Soviets in basketball.
Instead the 1972 Summer Games will always be remembered as "the Munich Massacre."
Less than two months after the killings, the three surviving gunmen were released and flown to Libya in exchange for the passengers and crew of a Lufthansa flight hijacked in the Middle East.
The Israelis, meanwhile, were organizing Operation Wrath of God, which tracked down and assassinated dozens of Palestinian militants linked to the killing, including two of the three surviving hostage takers. The third, Jamal al-Gashey, eluded the dragnet and remains at large today. He is believed to be hiding in either North Africa or Syria.
Suspected Israeli agents did manage to track down the self-proclaimed mastermind, Abu Daoud. He was cornered in a Warsaw hotel in 1981 and shot 13 times. He managed to survive, and died nearly 30 years later of kidney disease in Syria.
For the Olympic movement itself, the events of Sept. 5, 1972, were a jarring reminder that, despite the dreams of its founders, international sport cannot be separated from global politics.
Four decades later, security has become as integral a part of the games as the athletes, spectators and media. The British expect to spend more than $1.6 billion to protect this summer's games, roughly what the Greeks spent in Athens in 2004 and the Chinese in Beijing in 2008.
All the legacy of the Munich Massacre, a long-ago day that changed the Olympic Games forever.
EDITOR'S NOTE — Robert H. Reid has been a foreign correspondent for The Associated Press since 1977.