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Mikio Oda

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
SexMale
Full nameMikio•Oda
Used nameMikio•Oda
Original name織田•幹雄
Born30 March 1905 in Kaitaichi, Kaita, Hiroshima (JPN)
Died2 December 1998 in Kamakura, Kanagawa (JPN)
Measurements167 cm / 65 kg
AffiliationsWaseda University, Tokyo (JPN) / Hiroshima Higher Normal School, Hiroshima (JPN) / Osaka Asahi Shimbun Sports Department, Osaka (JPN)
NOC(s) Japan

Biography

An extraordinary jumping talent, excelling in both horizontal and vertical jumps, Mikio Oda was Japan’s first Olympic champion. He won the triple jump at the 1928 Olympics by jumping 15.21 metres in the qualifying round. When the gold medals were awarded at the end of the Olympics, Oda had already travelled to a meet in Paris, and his medal was collected by Yoshiyuki Tsuruta, a swimmer who won Japan’s second Olympic title. Oda’s winning distance was commemorated at the Opening Ceremony of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, when the Olympic flag was hoisted on a pole of 15.21 metres high.

Apart from his three Olympic appearances, Oda also won international titles at the Far East Games. He won the triple jump four times (1923, 1925, 1927, 1930), but also medalled in the long jump (gold: 1923, 1927; silver: 1930), the pole vault (silver: 1930), and the high jump (bronze: 1923). On 27 October 1931, Oda bettered the world record in the triple jump with 15.58 m, which was improved by compatriot Chuhei Nanbu within a year.

After the war, Oda became a track & field official. Among other positions he held, he was a member of the Japanese Olympic Committee, the technical committee of the IAAF and team leader of the Japanese athletics team at the 1952 Olympics and 1951 and 1954 Asian Games. Oda’s name lives on in the Mikio Oda Memorial International Amateur Athletic Games, an annual sports event in Hiroshima, which was established by Oda himself in 1967. He received the Medal with Purple Ribbon in 1959 and was made an Honorary Citizen of Tokyo, his hometown of Kaita, and of Hiroshima Prefecture.

Oda started his athletic career as a runner and soccer player at what is now Hiroshima Kokutaiji High School. In 1922, he set two Japanese records (1.73 in the high jump and 6.29 in the long jump) in the trials for the 1923 Far Eastern Games. In 1923 he joined the Teachers’ Training Center of the Hiroshima Higher Normal School.

In 1925, Oda received a scholarship to attend Waseda Senior High School and joined the university’s athletics section. He also competed in the decathlon in the trials for the 7th Far Eastern Games and set a national record in the 4x100 m relay. After graduating from high school, he entered the Faculty of Commerce of Waseda University. While he pursued his own sporting career, he also coached juniors such as Shuhei Nishida. After winning Japan’s first ever gold medal at the Amsterdam Olympics, he was appointed captain of the Waseda racing team. For Waseda, Oda gathered five consecutive titles at Japanese Championships in the triple jump (1925-29), two in the decathlon (1925, 1927), one in the long jump (1926), and three as a member of the university’s 4x100 m relay team.

Oda started his professional career at the Asahi Shimbun newspaper in 1931 and also joined the Osaka Asahi Shimbun Sports Club, setting his only world record in the same year. After injuring his foot in Taiwan, he placed only 12th in the triple jump at the Los Angeles Olympics but also served as coach and captain of the track & field team. Hampered by the injury, Oda finished his active career with a second place in the high jump at the 1934 Japan Athletics Championships. The outbreak of World War II and the return of the Tokyo Olympic Games hosting rights stopped his successful coaching career.

Just months after the Japanese surrender, Oda organized the first track & field meeting in Japan and was instrumental in restoring the Japan Association of Athletics Federations (JAAF). Beginning in 1949, he travelled to the United States and Europe to learn about the latest developments in athletics and to establish ties with people and organizations. In 1958, the Asian Games took place in Tokyo and Oda was the last runner of the torch relay and lit the flame in the cauldron. One year later, he was entrusted with the task to strengthen athletics in Japan in view of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. His provisions proved to be fruitful and Kokichi Tsuburaya restored the Japanese tradition by winning the bronze medal in the marathon. After the Olympics, Oda was appointed a professor at his alma mater, the Waseda University.

Personal Bests: HJ – 1.92 (1927); LJ – 7.52 (1931); TJ – 15.58 (1931).

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) Event Status Team Pos Details
1924 Summer Olympics Athletics 4 × 400 metres Relay, Men Olympic Japan DNS Representing Japan    
  High Jump, Men Olympic =10
  Long Jump, Men Olympic =10
  Triple Jump, Men Olympic 6
1928 Summer Olympics Athletics 4 × 100 metres Relay, Men Olympic Japan DNS Representing Japan    
  High Jump, Men Olympic =7
  Pole Vault, Men Olympic DNS
  Long Jump, Men Olympic =11 r1/2
  Triple Jump, Men Olympic 1 Gold
1932 Summer Olympics Athletics High Jump, Men Olympic DNS Representing Japan    
  Triple Jump, Men Olympic 12

Other participations

Games Role Details
1932 Summer Olympics Flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony Representing Japan    

Special Notes