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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

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April 16th, 2013
06:42 PM ET

Lessons on overcoming terror from survivor of 2 attacks

As he stepped away from the celebration at Copley Square, the boom of explosions induced a gut-wrenching déjà vu for Frank Shorter. The legendary marathoner, who witnessed terrorists carry out the attack on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, immediately thought, “Oh, no.”

“It was just too much coming all back together,” Shorter told CNN’s Jake Tapper Tuesday.

Shorter was sleeping on the balcony of his dormitory in the Olympic Village when he heard those first shots in 1972. He watched, from across the courtyard, as a man in a stocking cap, rifle slung over his shoulder, patrolled outside, 11 doomed Israelis awaiting their fate.

When he heard the blast in Boston Monday, Shorter recalled a single, sobering thought racing through his mind: That’s a bomb.

“I knew that anyone near something that severe, there were going to be fatalities,” Shorter said.

Forty yards away from the second device when it sent shrapnel flying in all directions, Shorter couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw the smoke. The marathoner never anticipated an attack at a sporting event, with Munich-like ramifications, ever happening again.

“We had considered international athletics,” Shorter said, “to be off-limits.”

The gold medalist admitted that the athletic community had been lulled into feeling safe and secure. The last terror incident at a marathon occurred in 2008, when a suicide bomber detonated a device at the beginning of a race in Sri Lanka, killing a dozen people, including a government minister.

But the sights and sounds of chaos are not the only parallels between then and now for Shorter. The marathoner went on to win gold just five days after the Munich massacre, besting his opponents and his own grief.

“The one thing over which I had control were my emotions and my fear,” Shorter said.

While the impact of the Boston terror attack will linger for a while, Shorter said he hopes Bostonians and marathoners alike will find it within their ability to keep their eyes on the road ahead and do one thing.

“Stay moving.”

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