Olympics of 1964 - History

1964 Olympics

Place: Tokyo

Men's Athletics

Event: 100m Winner: Robert Hayes Country: USA
Event: 200m Winner: Henry Carr Country: USA
Event: 400m Winner: Michael Larrabee Country: USA
Event: 800m Winner: Peter Snell Country: NZL
Event: 1500m Winner: Peter Snell Country: NZL
Event: 5000m Winner: Robert Schul Country: USA
Event: 10,000m Winner: William Mills Country: USA
Event: Marathon Winner: Abebe Bikila Country: ETH
Event: 110m Hurdles Winner: Hayes Jones Country: USA
Event: 400m Hurdles Winner: "Rex" Warren Cawley Country: USA
Event: 3000m Steeplechase Winner: Gaston Roelants Country: BEL
Event: 4x100m Relay Winner: USA
Event: 4x400m Relay Winner: USA
Event: 20km Walk Winner: Kenneth Matthews Country: GBR
Event: 50km Walk Winner: Abdon Pamich Country: ITA
Event: High Jump Winner: Valery Brumel Country: URS
Event: Pole Vault Winner: Fred Hansen Country: USA
Event: Long Jump Winner: Lynn Davies Country: GBR
Event: Triple Jump Winner:Jozef Schmidt Country: Poland
Event: Shotput Winner: Dallas Long Country: USA
Event: Discus Winner: Alfred Oeter Country: USA
Event: Hammer Winner: Romuald Klim Country: URS
Event: Javelin Winner: Pauli Nevala Country: FIN
Event: Decathalon Winner: Willi Holdorf Country: GER Wo

Men's Athletics

Event: 100m Winner: Wyomia Tyus Country: USA
Event: 200m Winner: Edith McGuire Country: USA
Event: 400m Winner: Betty Cuthbert Country: AUS
Event: 800m Winner: Ann Packer Country: GBR
Event: 80m Hurdles Winner: Karin Balzer Country: GER
Event: 4x100m Relay Winner: Poland
Event: High Jump Winner: Iolanda Balas Country: ROM
Event: Long Jump Winner: Mary Rand Country: GBR
Event: Shotput Winner: Tamara Press Country: URS
Event: Discus Winner: Tamara Press Country: URS
Event: Javelin Winner: Mihaela Penes Country: ROM
Event: Pentathlon Winner: Irina Press Country: URS Men Swimming
Event: 100m Freestyle Winner: Donald Schollander Country: USA
Event: 400m Freestyle Winner: Donald Schollander Country: USA
Event: 1500m Freestyle Winner: Robert Windle Country: AUS
Event: 200m Backstroke Winner: Jed Graef Country: USA
Event: 200m Breaststroke Winner: Ian OÕ Brien Country: AUS
Event: 200m Butterfly Winner: Kevin Berry Country: AUS
Event: 400m Individual Medley Winner: Richard Roth Country: USA
Event: 4x100m Freestyle Relay Winner: USA
Event: 4x200m Freestyle Relay Winner: USA
Event: 4x100m Medley Relay Winner: USA
Event: Springboard Diving Winner: Kenneth Sitzberger Country: USA
Event: Platform Diving Winner: Robert Webster Country: USA Water Polo Winner: Hungary Women Swimming
Event: 100m Freestlye Winner: Dawn Fraser Country: AUS
Event: 400m Freestyle Winner: Virginia Duenkel Country: USA
Event: 200m Breaststroke Winner: Galina Prozumenshikova Country: URS
Event: 100m Backstroke Winner: Cathy Ferguson Country: USA
Event: 100m Butterfly Winner: Sharon Stouder Country: USA
Event: 400m Individual Medley Winner: Donna De Varona Country: USA
Event: 4x100m Freestyle Individual Winner: USA
Event: 4x100m Medley Relay Winner: USA
Event: Springboard Diving Winner: Ingrid Engel-Kramer Country: GER
Event: Platform Diving Winner: Lesely Bush Country: USA Boxing
Event: Flyweight Winner: Fernando Atzori
Event: Bantamweight Winner: Takkao Sakurai
Event: Featherweight Winner: Stanislav Stepashkin
Event: Lightweight Winner: Jozef Grudzien
Event: Light Welterweight Winner: Marian Kaspryk
Event: Middleweight Winner: Valery Popenchenko
Event: Light Heavyweight Winner: Cosmic Pinto
Event: Super Heavyweight Winner: Jospeh Frazier Greco Roman Wrestling
Event: Flyweight Winner: Tsutomu Hanahara Country: JAP
Event: Bantamweight Winner: Massamitsu Ichiguchi Country: JAP
Event: Featherweight Winner: Imre Polyak Country: HUN
Event: Lightweight Winner: Kazim Ayvaz Country: TUR
Event: Welterweight Winner: Anatoly Kolesov Country: URS
Event: Middleweight Winner: Branislav Simic Country: YUG
Event: Light Heavyweight Winner: Boyan Radev Country: BUL
Event: Heavyweight Winner: Istvan Kozma Country: HUN Freestyle Wrestling
Event: Flyweight Winner: Yoshikatsu Yoshida Country: JAP
Event: Bantamweight Winner: Yojiro Uetake Country: JAP
Event: Featherweight Winner: Osamu Watanabe Country: JAP
Event: Lightweight Winner: Enyu Vulchev Country: BUL
Event: Welterweight Winner: Ismail Ogan Country: TUR
Event: Middleweight Winner: Prodan Gardzhev Country: BUL
Event: Light Heavyweight Winner: Aleksander Medved Country: URS
Event: Heavyweight Winner: Aleksander Ivanitsky Country: URS Judo
Event: Lightweight Winner: Takehide Nakatani Country: JAP
Event: Middleweight Winner: Isao Okano Country: JAP
Event: Heavyweight Winner: Isao Inkokuma Country: JAP
Event: Open Winner: Antonius Geesink Country: NETH Men Fencing
Event: Foil Individual Winner: Egon Franke Country: POL
Event: Foil Team Winner: Soviet Union
Event: Epee Individual Winner: Grigory Kriss Country: URS
Event: Epee Team Winner: Hungary
Event: Sabre Individual Winner: Tibor Pezsa Country: HUN
Event: Sabre Team Winner: Soviet Union Women Fencing
Event: Foil Individual Winner: Ildiko Ujlaki-Retjo Country: HUN
Event: Foil Team Winner: Hungary Modern Pentathlon
Event: Individual Winner: Dr. Ference Torok Country: HUN
Event: Team Winner: Soviet Union Men Canoeing
Event: Kayak-1 1000m Winner: Rolf Peterson Country: SWE
Event: Kayak-2 1000m Winner: Sweden
Event: Kayak-4 1000m Winner: Soviet Union
Event: Canadian-1 1000m Winner: Jurgen Eschert Country: GER
Event: Canadian-2 1000m Winner: Soviet Union Women Canoeing
Event: Kayak-1 500m Winner: Lyudmila Khvedosyuk Country: URS
Event: Kayak-2 500m Winner: Germany Rowing
Event: Single Sculls Winner: Vyacheslav Ivanov Country: URS
Event: Double Sculls Winner: Soviet Union
Event: Coxless Pairs Winner: Canada
Event: Coxed Pairs Winner: USA
Event: Coxless Fours Winner: Denmark
Event: Coxed Fours Winner: Germany
Event: Eights: USA Yachting
Event: Finn Winner: Wilhelm Kuhweide Country: Germany
Event: Star Class Winner Bahamas
Event: Flying Dutchman Winner: New Zealand
Event: Dragon Class Winner Denmark Cycling
Event: Individual Road Race Winner: Mario Zanin Country: ITA
Event: 100km Team Time Trial Winner: Netherlands
Event: 1000m Time Trial Winner: Patrick Sercu Country: BEL
Event: 1000m Sprint Winner: Giovanni Pettenella Country: ITA
Event: 2000m Tandem Winner: Italy
Event: 4000m Individual Pursuit Winner: Jiri Daler Country: TCH
Event: 4000 Team Pursuit Race Winner: Germany Equestrian Sports
Event: 3-Day Event Individual Winner: Mauro Checcoli Country: ITA
Event: Three-Day Event Team Winner: Italy
Event: Individual Dressage Winner: Henri Chammartin Country: SUI
Event: Individual Dressage Winner: Henri Chammartin Country: SUI
Event: Team Dressage Winner: Germany
Event: Grand Prix Jumping Individ. Winner: Pierre Jonqueres dÕ Oriola Country: FRA
Event: Grand Prix Jumping Team Winner: Germany Men Shooting
Event: Free Rifle, 300m. 3 positions Winner: Gary Anderson Country: URS
Event: Small Bore Rifle, 50m Prone Winner: Laszlo Hammerl Country: HUN
Event: Small Bore Rifle, 3 positions Winner: Lones Wigger Country: URS
Event: Rapid Fire Pistol, 35m Winner: Pentti Linnosvuo Country: FIN
Event: Free Pistol, 50m Winner: Vaino Markkanen Country: FIN Mixed Shooting
Event: Clay Pigeon Winner: Ennio Matterelli Country: ITA Weightlifting
Event: Bantamweight Winner: Aleksei Vakhonin Country: URS
Event: Featherweight Winner: Yoshinobu Miyake Country: JAP
Event: Lightweight Winner: Waldemar Baszanowski Country: POL
Event: Middleweight Winner: hans Zdrazila Country: TCH
Event: Light Heavyweight Winner: Rudoplf Plukfelder Country: URS
Event: Middle Heavyweight Winner: Vladimir Golovanov Country: URS
Event: Heavyweight Winner: Leonid Zhabotinsky Country: URS Men Gymnastics
Event: All- around Individual Winner: Yukio Endo Country: JAP
Event: Combined Exercises Team Winner: Japan
Event: Parallel Bars Winner: Yukio Endo Country: JAP
Event: Floor Exercises Winner: France Menichelli Country: ITA
Event: Long Horse Vault Winner: Haruhiro Yamashita Country: JAP
Event: Side Horse Winner: Miroslav Cerar Country: YUG
Event: Horizontal Bars Winner: Boris Shakhlin Country: URS
Event: Rings Winner: Takuji Haytta Country: JAP Women Gymnastics
Event: All- around Individual Winner: Vera Caslavska Country: TCH
Event: Combined Exercises Team Winner: Soviet Union
Event: Asymmetric Bars Winner: Polina Astakhova Country: URS
Event: Floor Exercises Winner: Larissa Latynina Country: URS
Event: Side Horse Vault Winner: Vera Caslavska Country: TCH
Event: Beam Winner: Vera Caslavska Country: TCH Basketball Winner: USA Football Winner: Hungary Field Hockey Winner: India Men Volleyball Winner: Soviet Union Women Volleyball Winner: Japan

The 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games 東京オリンピック1964

The 1964 Olympics opening ceremony

The Yoyogi Olympic Stadium

The new Kasumigaoka Olympic stadium under construction

Nihonbashi bridge, dominated by the huge expressway built above it

The Olympic flame in the stadium, 1964

Mount Vesuvius forces a relocation

In 1904, Rome won out over cities like Berlin and Turin to host the 1908 Olympic Games. But two years into preparations for the event, disaster struck: Mount Vesuvius erupted, causing serious destruction in the cities near the base of the volcano and paralyzing the city of Naples. Overwhelmed by the cost of recovery, Italy had to give up its Olympic bid.

But even that volcanic eruption couldn’t cancel the Olympics. International Olympic Committee officials instead turned to London to host—giving the city just 10 months to prepare. The British Olympics Association made the most of that time and even managed to build a brand new stadium, which was the first ever to be built especially for the Games.

Negative impact of 1964 Olympics profound

The 1964 Tokyo Olympics had a profound impact on the capital city and the nation. In the final installment of a five-part series running this month, best-selling author Robert Whiting, who lived in Japan at the time, focuses on the environmental and human impact that resulted from hosting the event.

If for the Japanese the 1964 Summer Olympics was a blaze of glory, it also cast some shadows. The transformation of Tokyo from a war-ravaged city into a major international capital, seemingly overnight, had a dark side that was rarely talked about. The games were in fact responsible for a great deal of environmental destruction and human misery in the capital and its environs, as I can attest to as one who was there.

There was absolutely no reason to have a high-speed train connecting Tokyo to Osaka just for the games, since there were no events taking place in Japan’s second-largest city. Yet the shinkansen project was rushed through by Japanese National Railway executives in the name of “urban improvement.”

The goal was to impress the rest of the world with the high level of Japanese technological achievement, as the global media focused on the Tokyo Olympics. Thanks primarily to the haste (and also to dirty politics and graft), the project wound up costing $1 billion, twice what the original budget called for (and roughly one-third the total cost of the games) and the JNR president was compelled to resign.

The funds diverted to cover the expanding costs of the shinkansen took money away from other projects, like the monorail, which had originally been intended to link Haneda Airport to the city center. Instead it wound up terminating in Hamamatsucho, a less convenient station several stops away. There was simply not enough capital to buy the land and extend the line to a more logical location like Tokyo Station or Shimbashi, for which the monorail company had acquired a license.

Moreover, in order to avoid buying expensive privately owned land for the monorail, its builders constructed it over water on a route provided gratis by the municipal government, covering the rivers, canals and sea areas below with landfill and concrete in the process. Fishing permits held by local fishing cooperatives in these districts were revoked by city hall and many local fishing jobs were lost. A seaweed field in Omori in Ota Ward, from which a prized delicacy, Omori no nori, had been harvested since the Edo Period (1603-1868), simply disappeared.

The lack of funds affected highway construction as well, as it also became necessary to build overhead expressways above the existing rivers and canals to avoid purchasing land. Among the many eyesores that resulted from this arrangement is that of the iconic Meiji Era bridge at Nihonbashi, an historic terminus for the old Tokaido Road footpath and economic center (and the zero point from which all distances are measured in Japan). The bridge had been built back in the Meiji Era (1868-1912) so that it would provide a view of Mt. Fuji for anyone crossing from the east side to the west.

I remember taking a walk along the canal to see the famous bridge, shortly before the games began. I was dismayed to see its once-charming appearance completely ruined by the massive highway just a few feet overhead, like a giant concrete lid, obliterating the sky. The smell from the toxic water in the canal was so offensive I had to cover my nose. I imagined Mt. Fuji, looking on from afar, doing the same.

The reconstruction effort for the Olympics cost Tokyo much of its navigable waterways. By planting the supporting columns of the highways and other structures in the water below, many river docks were rendered useless, costing even more jobs. Water stagnated, fish died and biochemical sludge, known as hedoro in Japanese, formed.

Tokyo’s estuaries, many of them already polluted with industrial waste raw sewage, increasingly became putrid cesspools. Some were simply buried with debris from construction and the tearing down of World War II-era structures. Others were filled with concrete and turned into roads. Life did not return to the Sumida River and other connected waterways for several years, and when it did it was in the form of germs.

Yet, another adverse effect of the 1964 Olympic effort was the depopulation of residential areas. Although lack of eminent domain laws in Japan supposedly protected residents, Japanese authorities nonetheless found ways to compel people out of their homes in order to facilitate construction, offering small sums of money and appealing to a recalcitrant tenant’s sense of patriotism to get him to move, or, failing that, turning to intimidation in the form of tax harassment, public shaming or the investigation of violations of minor city codes.

The inhabitants of more than 100 houses near the site where the Olympic Stadium was planned had been forced to move in order to make way for the stadium and a surrounding parking lot. The greenery that covered the area was removed and a nearby river buried in concrete. Among the hard-hit areas were Bunkyo Ward and Chiyoda Ward, in the center of the city, where many small single-family residences were condemned to be torn down and the people living inside forced to move to new dwellings outside the city. Because of the decrease in population in these areas, several primary and secondary schools closed down. Massive new Soviet-style New Town developments called danchi became the destinations for many of the displaced people.

Another casualty of the 1964 Olympics was the trolley lines, which had been a cheap, reliable and pleasant way of getting around the city. The elimination of two major lines in street-widening schemes caused a corresponding increase in vehicular traffic and a worsening of the air quality in Tokyo, and set the stage for the removal of almost all the other trolley lines in the city.

Corruption, in the form of dango (bid-rigging) and price collusion, a well-known fact of life in postwar construction in Japan, also reared its ugly head during the pre-Olympic years. Many construction firms were fronts for organized crime, while yakuza gangs were a fixture at most construction sites. They brought in the laborers, supplied temporary lodging, ran the food concessions, the after-hours gambling dens and brothels and, of course, provided “protection.” With taxpayer money siphoned off to line the pockets of corrupt politicians and underworld bosses, the subsequent cost-cutting often resulted in shoddy work.

The use of sand from the sea when mixing concrete, for example, caused the internal rebar and steel beams used in highway construction to rust prematurely. The practice also caused parts of the supporting pillars of the Hanshin Meishin Expressway running from Tokyo to Osaka through Nagoya, to collapse in the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake.

One might also mention the matter of dishonest real estate agents in league with JNR officials and LDP politicians buying up land in Shin-Yokohama on false promises that a Nissan/Ford plant would be built and provide many jobs, when in fact the land was used for Shin-Yokohama Station. This subterfuge was portrayed in the novel, and hit film, “Kuro No Cho Tokkyu.” Investigations were conducted, but since key principals had left the country to avoid prosecution (after being paid handsomely by their employers, who successfully covered their tracks) no one ever went to jail.

Finally, much has been made of stray dogs killed in Sochi, Russia, but there was also a massacre in Tokyo on a much greater scale. During World War II, the Japanese government had mercilessly slaughtered dogs, cats and zoo animals in the name of food scarcity and disease prevention. Another sweep of strays was undertaken before the Tokyo Games, this time primarily for cosmetic reasons. In the 1940s the unfortunate creatures had been rounded up, stuffed in canvas bags and beaten to death with clubs. By 1964, however, a technologically more advanced method had been developed, using a contraption that suffocated animals with carbon dioxide. It resulted in the deaths of an estimated 200,000 cats and dogs in the year before the start of the Olympics.

The Tokyo Olympics and their aftermath made for a culminating moment in my life as well as that of the Japanese. I had a ringside seat to the metamorphosis taking place at all levels of the society and it was quite intoxicating. Even after the athletes departed and the stadiums went silent, the buzz and the energy remained. Per capita GDP continued to rise steadily to more than triple over the course of the decade. The “economic miracle” was in full swing.

The city of Tokyo was making it clear it was going to be a force to be reckoned with from now on — in industry, commerce, culture, sports and nightlife.

I had been in the country for nearly three years and was due for a discharge the following March. By that time I had become hopelessly addicted to the capital and I had decided to stay on and enroll in Sophia University.

My “best friendship” with Dr. Sato was by then already on the wane. I later found out I had been replaced as his tutor — by a pretty blonde exchange student from Minnesota. But that was not even a minor consideration.

I liked the energy of the city, the nonstop activity, the politeness, the orderliness, the efficiency, the trains that always arrived on time, the mix of the old and new, the temples, the shrines, the crowds, the bright neon lights, the charm and the uniqueness of it all.

Tokyo was a city where umbrellas appeared as if by magic at the very first raindrop. It was a city where taxi doors opened automatically for you. It was a city where if you lost your wallet or purse, you could go to the police station, and the cops as a matter of policy, would loan you ¥1,000 so you could make it back home.

If you were a young man, naive, from a small town searching for an identity, Tokyo was not a bad place to be while you looked. It may have not been the traditional path to self-discovery overseas that, in those days, many people believed lay in Paris, but that was because people didn’t know that much about it. Tokyo offered endless little adventures, constant stimulation and new worlds for discovery.

Who wouldn’t want to hang around?

An interesting aside of the 1964 Olympics was the Tokugawa curse. Many facilities built for the Tokyo Games were placed on former Tokugawa land. Tokyo Prince Hotel, by the Seibu group, which own one-sixth of all the real estate in Japan, was built on land that once housed the graves of Tokugawa family members. Parts of Zojoji, the temple of the shogun, burned during WWII. Post-war, the Seibu Tsutsumis grabbed much land from former Imperial princes who lost their holdings due to GHQ (the General Headquarters, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers) purges and taxation. Along the way, Seibu also obtained former grave sites maintained by Zojoji and built the Tokyo Prince Hotel in time for the 1964 Games. Shiba bowling alley and a golf driving range were also built on Tokugawa grave sites.

Tokyo Tower also has one of its legs on former grave plot land. Many deaths that happened during the construction of Tokyo Tower were blamed on the Tokugawa curse.

The later collapse of the Seibu business empire is often said to be caused partially by the curse of the Tokugawa ghosts. Most of it stemmed from the 1964 construction that disrespected former grave sites.

The 2020 Olympics are set for Tokyo, and if history is any indication, we are in for a repeat of the waste, destruction and human misery caused by the 1964 Games. Although the Olympic construction effort did indeed add a needed veneer of modern glitz to the city central, it also left large swaths of the capital, as a recent Japan Times editorial put it, “awash in ugly buildings, bland public areas and with few cityscapes that any tourist or resident would care to look at.”

Already the people living in public housing in Kasumigaoka Apartments near Sendagaya, for example, are being forced out and relocated to more remote areas. Tokyo Metro owns this public housing and has condemned it to create a larger stadium in the Yoyogi area. Ironically, some of the people living there now came to be living there as a result of being forced out of their original housing during construction for the 1964 Games. Lightning did indeed strike twice for them.

A Reuters story detailed the plight of a Tokyo resident Kohei Jinno, 79, who had been forced to move from his house to make way for the National Stadium complex. Now he has to move again. The public housing complex where he and his wife live is slated to be destroyed as part of construction for a new stadium for the 2020 Summer Games.

“Fate had not been kind to me,” he was quoted as saying, with some understatement.

Jiage, a well-known practice in Tokyo real estate during the economic bubble era, will rear its ugly head again. For the 1964 Games, the U.S. handover of Washington Heights to create Yoyogi Park and the National Stadium alleviated the need for jiage in central Tokyo. This time, however, there is no such large area to be conveniently handed over. Much of the jiage will no doubt focus on Tsukiji, whose fish market is slated to move out. The businesses and homes surrounding the market will suffer greatly.

During the run-up to the 1964 Games, the Japanese media loudly fanned the Olympic flames, declaring them to be the best thing ever for the Japanese people. All true Japanese had to support the games 100 percent, more if humanly possible. Those who opposed the games were Hikokumin, or traitors to Dai Nippon. It smacked of World War II propaganda.

Now the media appears to be doing the same thing. Citizens, already having to cope with an increase in the shohizei (national sales tax) from 5 percent to 8 percent (and possibly 10 percent next year), will no doubt have to face even higher taxes to pay for the games, estimated to cost at least ¥455.4 billion ($5 billion), but will surely double, and perhaps triple, by the time 2020 rolls around. With a crippling debt of nearly $11 trillion, some 230 percent of GDP, the 2020 Olympics could be the hardest burden to bear, to borrow from a well-worn cliche, if costs start to spiral out of control.

Organized crime will, of course, participate. The 󈨄 Games saw large numbers of Koreans brought into Japan as cheap, underpaid labor by various gumi (gangster organizations). Many stayed after that. These “undocumented”people suddenly got “Special Permanent Residence” status after working on their respective constructions projects, and they chain-immigrated family to Japan as well. There will likely be a repeat of this for the 2020 Games, although this time, expect to see more Chinese, Filipinos, Indonesians and others in the mix. Construction companies will want cheap labor, and they are already pressuring Abe and the LDP to set up a massive “‘immigration” measure to bring in what will amount to what some say will be slave labor from various Asian nations.

On top of that, there have been published reports of JOC executives having contacts with organized crime groups in Japan. Of that, I am not at all surprised to hear.

The decision to hold the games in late July and early August when the temperature is in the mid-to-high 30s and the humidity above 80 percent (the JOC bid document submitted in Buenos Aires maintained ingeniously that the weather in Tokyo at that time of year is “mild and sunny” and “an ideal climate for athletes to perform at their best”) was another problem area. According to studies by Sports Science Australia, playing competitive sports at those temperatures is an extreme risk for athletes. It was particularly dangerous for marathoners.

Luckily for many, track and field events would be held in the fully air-conditioned new National Stadium. However, if constructed as planned, this hollowed out 20-story building with a roof three times the size of the Tokyo Dome, would, its critics claim, ruin the aesthetic of the Meiji Jingu Shrine area. Said journalist Mary Corbett, “Two weeks of nonstop ventilation and cooling would also cost a fortune. And the precipitation would be intense. It will be a nightmare.”

One interesting note is a recent push by a group of business executives who mainly work in the Nihonbashi and surrounding areas calling for a removal of the elevated expressway over Nihonbashi Bridge, before 2020. Plans the group proposed include moving a 50-km section of the 300-km Metropolitan Expressway underground. This would certainly beautify the area and be a good start to reclaiming Japan’s historical and aesthetic heritage. However, this will not exactly be a low-cost operation. Estimates peg the proposed renewal at ¥3.8 trillion ($3.5 billion), which is nearly as much as the proposed budget for the 2020 Games.

Said Tokyo-based investment banker Hiroki Allen, summing it all up, “If costs spiral out of control, it could be a serious setback for Abenomics and the Japanese economy. That’s the last thing this country needs. It took Japan over 30 years to pay back the money it borrowed from the World Bank to build roads for the 1964 Olympics.”

The 2020 Olympics may lift the spirit of the Japanese people, but there will certainly be a price to pay for the privilege. Let’s hope it is not too much.

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Muriel Grossfeld of the U.S.A. shows off her form in the Women's Individual Standing gymnastics event.

Mario Zanin (center) of Italy celebrates his gold medal with silver medallist Kjell Rodian (left) of Denmark and bronze medallist Walter Godefroot (right) of Belgium after winning the Men's Individual cycle road race at the Hachioji Road Race Course.

The free event is open to members and nonmembers of the Pasadena Senior Center. Residency in Pasadena is not required.

Donna De Varona

When she was only 13, swimmer Donna de Varona became the youngest competitor at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome. She was well on her way to setting a career total of 18 world-best times and world records when, at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, she won a gold medal in the women’s 400-meter individual medley and a second gold medal as a member of the world-record-setting U.S. team in the 4𴠼-meter freestyle relay. After she retired from competitive swimming in 1965, she became the first female sportscaster on network television and the first woman to cover the Olympics for ABC television. She is an enthusiastic advocate for women in sports, helped Billy Jean King found the Women’s Sports Foundation and was a moving force in the Congressional passage of the landmark 1972 Title IX legislation and the 1978 Amateur Sports Act. She has been inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame and the National Women’s Hall of Fame. She was presented with The Olympic Order, the highest award given by the International Olympic Committee, in 2000.

Billy Mills

Coming from relative obscurity, runner Billy Mills won a gold medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games in the longest track and field foot race — the 10,000-meter (6.2-mile) run — in what experts agree is one of the greatest upsets in any event in Olympic history. He remains to this day the only gold medal winner in the 10,000-meter run in history from the Americas. A member of the Lakota Oglala Sioux tribe whose native name is Tamakoce Te’Hila, Mills is from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and began competitive running at Haskell Indian Nations University. At the University of Kansas on an athletic scholarship, he was a three-time NCAA All-America cross-country runner. He is co-founder and national spokesman of the foundation Running Strong for American Indian Youth that, through running and other sports, helps Native American youths reach their full potential while trying to reverse generational poverty and meet the needs of families in remote areas of reservations. Mills was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1976 and the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1984. He received the President’s Council on Physical Fitness Lifetime Achievement Award from Barack Obama in 2015.

András Törő

András Törő is a Hungarian-born sprint canoer who competed in four Summer Olympics: 1960 in Rome and 1964 in Tokyo on the Hungarian teams and 1972 in Munich and 1976 in Montreal for the U.S. teams. He won a bronze medal in the 1,000-meter doubles canoe sprint race at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome. In 1962 he won the World Athletic Championship in the individual 10,000-meter sprint canoe event. After finishing fourth in the 1,000-meter race at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, he walked into the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and defected. Political asylum was granted, and he was welcomed to the United States of America. This was at a time when Hungary was part of the Soviet Bloc and the Soviet Union consistently violated the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, restricted the types of activities athletes, artists, dancers, musicians and others could participate in, even recreationally, and punished dissidents with long-term incarcerations in psychiatric prisons. Törő resigned himself to most likely never seeing his family and home country ever again but had high hopes of starting fresh and free in a new land. He became an American citizen in 1971 and since then has served on the International Olympic Committee board of directors and the IOC executive committee. He is a retired naval architect and marine engineer who still designs and builds canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards.

Panel discussion

Raj Mathai, an NBC Bay Area newscaster, 12-time Emmy Award winner and Olympic expert, will moderate a panel discussion among these three Tokyo Olympians that will include a Q&A with Zoom viewers. The Zoom event will be presented by the Bay Area Sports Organizing Committee and NBC-Bay Area in partnership with the Pasadena Senior Center.

To register, visit and click on Events, Clubs and Lectures, then Online Events. Everyone who registers will receive an email link in advance of the Zoom event.

In addition to Zoom activities, members and nonmembers of the Pasadena Senior Center can visit the website regularly for COVID-19 updates for and other timely information, a weekly blog, monthly magazine, ongoing activities throughout the year and more.

Social Media In Olympics

expected that events will employ different types in order to aid the construction and execution. In particular a closer look at how the olympics uses social media in the construction and execution of the event will be mgjgjdkfjgodfkgkd In the lead up to the London 2012 Olympics Andy Hunt, the British Olympic Association Chief Executive announced that this year 's Olympics would also be the first ‘Twitter Games’. This would involve the active encouragement of athletes to ‘embrace all accepts&hellip

New games, new stadium

Two athletes look to the Tokyo Games


My experiences at the 2008 Beijing Olympics were accompanied by feelings of uncertainty. It was my first time participating in such a big competition — everything was new and surprising. Being surrounded by the best athletes in the world made me feel ecstatic, and I told myself I would enjoy it as much as possible. I won the bronze medal — the first medal my country won in the Beijing Games, and Argentina’s very first judo medal ever.

I had more experience by the time I competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and managed to achieve the gold medal. That was proof that if you work hard, you can achieve your dreams.

Getting ready for the Tokyo Olympic Games is a little bit different, as we cannot prepare and train as usual limited contact with people and constant monitoring are the new normal, but we are working on getting special permission to go to Europe, as it is very important for us to train with athletes from different backgrounds. I have great expectations for the Tokyo Olympics,and I will bring my best to this competition.



I am looking forward to participating in the Tokyo Olympics not only as a 100-meter hurdles athlete, but also as a mother.

In 2009, I took part in the World Athletics Championship. In 2013, I retired after sustaining an injury. The following year I got married, went to university and gave birth to my daughter.

Since I really wanted to participate in the Olympics held in Tokyo, I returned as a rugby player in 2016. I was lucky to play on the Japanese team for a few months before I broke my leg and had to quit.

Despite that, I decided to return to the world of athletics in 2019. I set a new Japanese record in the 100-meter hurdles and participated in the World Championships for the first time in 10 years.

In Japan, it is common for female athletes to retire after marriage or giving birth, so there are very few active female athletes who are also mothers. For me, staying active is also a way to break away from this stereotype.

My goal for the Tokyo Olympics is to make it to the finals and show my daughter my efforts and accomplishments as an athlete.


Roy Tomizawa is a leadership and talent development consultant as well as a sports journalist who recently published a book, “1964 — The Greatest Year in the History of Japan: How the Tokyo Olympics Symbolized Japan’s Miraculous Rise from the Ashes.”

Frenetic Pace

When Japan won its bid for the games in 1959, the country’s boom had just kicked off and Tokyo was still caught between devastation and recovery.

Poor sewage systems meant polluted rivers. Drinking water was bad. Air quality was low, while a poor road network and rising car culture meant endemic traffic. As the population soared to 10 million by 1963𠅏rom just 3.49 million in 1945—growth in housing stock struggled to keep up.

The overall impression was an “unsightly urban sprawl of rickety wooden houses” and “scabrous shanties,” wrote journalist Robert Whiting, who landed in the city in 1962 as an American GI, in his autobiography Tokyo Junkie.

Bagging the Olympics was viewed in a less skeptical light than it might be today, and above all as a development opportunity. With the promise of the games ahead, the already frenetic pace of construction stepped up a gear.

The government accelerated work on roads including the Metropolitan Expressway, which weaves between buildings, balances over rivers and ducks underground𠅊 cheaper and quicker building method than buying up private land. It improved water systems and expanded the subway. Buildings sprouted up like weeds and luxury hotels—such as the 17-story Hotel New Otani, Japan’s largest building at the time—were built to accommodate foreign guests. Western-style flush toilets, then uncommon, were promoted. 

The city was still marked by several U.S. army camps. The Olympics gave Japanese leaders an opportunity to press for the return of more land at a point when the U.S. was ready to reduce the conspicuous evidence of its presence in the country.

Japan’s Olympic organizers targeted the spacious Camp Drake in the city’s far northwest. The U.S. offered to return Washington Heights, which was smaller but built in a prime location next to the shrine of Emperor Meiji, modern Japan’s patriarch. Organizers initially resisted the idea of building sports facilities on such coveted real estate, before the area ultimately became home to the Olympic Village and the National Gymnasium. The pioneering design of its now-famous spiraling suspension roof let architect Kenzo Tange forgo columns and open the space under a swooping ceiling.

“The conversion of imperial and military facilities concentrated in Tokyo’s west into new infrastructure would advance the urban renewal of these areas while expanding disparities” with the city’s traditional center in the east, wrote Takashi Machimura, a professor of Sociology at Hitotsubashi University.

The games attracted young people to Shibuya, Yoyogi and Harajuku—neighborhoods that today remain ground zero for Japanese youth culture. National broadcaster NHK built new headquarters nearby, drawing in other networks, businesses and shops. Eventually the Olympic Village was converted into Yoyogi Park, one the few large city parks suited to activities like jogging and picnicking, and hugely popular for its proximity to Shibuya and Harajuku. Luxury hotels also helped turn the area into a destination for leisure and business travelers.

“Looking at the grounds occupied by the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, one can see that the games both replaced history and were themselves placed in a historical context by their closeness to the Meiji Shrine,” wrote Christian Tagsold, a professor at Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf’s Department for Modern Japan.

The History of the Olympic Pictograms: How Designers Hurdled the Language Barrier

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Pictograms for the 1964 Tokyo Olympic, designed by Katsumi Masaru (image: Virtual Olympic Games Museum)

Of all the instances in which graphic communication is necessary to transcend language barriers, the Olympic Games are, if not the most important, probably the most visible. We take the little icons of swimmers and sprinters as a given aspect of Olympic design, but the pictograms were a mid-20th Century invention—first employed, in fact, the last time London hosted the games, in 1948 (some pictographic gestures were made at the 1936 Berlin games, though their mark on international memory has been permitted to fade because of their association with Third Reich ideology).

The 1948 London pictograms were not a system of communication so much as a series of illustrations depicting each of the competitive sports, as well as the arts competition, which existed from 1912 to 1952 and included architecture, literature, music, painting and sculpture. In 1964, the Tokyo games took pictogram design to the next level by creating a complete system of typography, colors and symbols that would be applied across Olympic communications platforms.

In a paper on the history of Olympic design and national history, Jilly Traganou, an associate professor at The New School, writes:

Since Japan had not adopted the principles of the International Traffic Signs, introduced at the United Nations Geneva conference in 1949 and accepted by most European countries, the Olympics were regarded by graphic designers as an opportunity to establish a more unified and internationally legible symbolic language across the country. It was along these lines, searching for universally understood visual languages, that pictograms (ekotoba, in Japanese, a word used prior to the design of pictograms) were for the first time designed for the Olympic Games, embodying at the same time Baron deCoubertinʼs aspirations of universalism…A major task of the Japanese design team of the 1960s was to de-traditionalize Japanese visual languages by subscribing to the abstract, non-iconic principles of the modern movement, found also to be more appropriate for expressing the new corporate identities of postwar Japan.

The Japanese pictogram system was conceived by a team of designers led by Katsumi Masaru and inspired in part by design language development that was taking place in Vienna, masterminded by Otto Neurath and Gerd Arntz. Neurath and Arntz are known for the creation of isotype, an early (and still completely current) infographic form.

Pictograms for the 1968 Mexico Olympics, designed by Lance Wyman (image: Virtual Olympic Games Museum)

The simplicity and standardization of the isotype language came more fully into the Olympic pictogram arena with the 1972 Munich Olympics, but in between came the 1968 Mexico games, where, as design critic Steven Heller put it, graphic language met traditional Mexican folk art forms and 60s op-art psychadelia. The pictograms for the 󈨈 games were designed by Lance Wyman, an American graphic designer who also created the Washington, D.C. metro map, which is still in use today, as well as designs for various branches of the Smithsonian Institution.

Otl Aicher pictogram, designed for the 1972 Munich Olympics, printed on a matchbox (flickr: toby__)

In 1972, a German designer named Oli Aicher refined Olympic pictograms into the concise, clean system that most people think of today as the symbols of the games. Portuguese design professor Carlos Rosa wrote in his book, Pictografia Olímpica:

drew an extensive series of pictograms on a modular grid divided by horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines. A very good example of German cold geometry that emerged as a complete standardised visual language due to all of his drawings being designed under strict mathematical control. Aicher’s pictograms were an unavoidable milestone in the design of pictographic systems.

Slightly modified versions (and in some cases exact replicas) of the Aicher designs were used at subsequent Olympics as the standard of universal visual language, though in the early 1990s, some designers began moving away from the simplified standard, adding embellishments that referenced the culture of the city where the games were taking place. The Sydney games played up the boomerang, the Beijing images were vaguely calligraphic, and this year, as the games return to the place where pictograms first came into common Olympic use, the London 2012 visual language takes two approaches: a set of simple silhouettes for utilitarian communication purposes, and a more “dynamic” alternate version for use in decorative applications.

London 2012 pictogram installed on a wall (flickr: World of Good)

Designed by a firm with the appropriately universal name SomeOne, the images move away from isotype and back toward illustration, conveying both motion and emotion through color and a sense of hand-sketching. Carlos Rosa wonders in his essay, “If pictograms have abstract characteristics, will orientation be compromised for many visitors?”

Does the utility of visual communication get lost when we reinsert the obvious complexity of human interpretation? He suggests that mobile gadgets and digital technology may obviate the need for explicit pictographic guidance, in which case artful expression and cultural flavor can come back into the mix. Between now and 2016, apps and GPS will keep getting better at telling us where we are and where to go, which means the designers who’ve most likely already been tapped to design the Rio de Janeiro Olympic language may have more creative license than their predecessors of the past 60 years.

Watch the video: James Bond and The Queen London 2012 Performance (January 2022).