1964 Summer Olympics

Facts

Competition type Olympic Games
Host city (Venues)
Opening ceremony 10 October
Closing ceremony 24 October
Competition dates 11 – 24 October
OCOG Organizing Committee for the Games of the XVIII Olympiad
Participants 5137 from 93 countries
Medal events 163 in 24 disciplines
Other events 27 in 4 disciplines

Overview

For the first time, the Olympic Games were hosted in an Asian country. The Japanese were eager to prove that they had recovered from the horrors of World War II and, to emphasize the point, they chose as the final torch bearer, Yoshinori Sakai, who had been born in Hiroshima on the day the atom bomb immolated that city.

Before the Games began there was a minor controversy when Indonesia and North Korea withdrew because several of their athletes were declared ineligible. The affected athletes had competed in the 1963 Games of the New Emerging Forces (GANEFO) in Jakarta, Indonesia. Indonesia did not allow Chinese Taipei or Israel to compete at those Games, so the international federations for athletics, swimming and shooting banned any athlete from the Tokyo Olympics who had competed at GANEFO. Because this affected several of their athletes, Indonesia and North Korea withdrew from Tokyo in protest. The only significant athlete to be missed was Dan Sin-Kim, women’s world record holder in the 800 metres.

The Games were beautifully run and the minor boycott had minimal effect. In athletics, Billy Mills of the United States pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Olympic history when he won the 10,000 metre run. Prior to the Olympic Trials he was only a longshot to make the United States’ team. At Tokyo, USA hopes rested on the slim shoulders of tiny Gerry Lindgren in that event, but a few days before the race, Lindgren sprained his ankle and was not at his best. However, Mills lowered his personal best by over 45 seconds to win the gold medal in a wild sprint finish from Australia’s Ron Clarke and Tunisia’s Mohamad Gammoudi.

The most decorated hero of the Games was swimmer Don Schollander who won four gold medals in men’s swimming. Schollander could have won a fifth gold medal but he was mercifully left off the medley relay team by US coaches, although he was America’s fastest freestyler.

The Japanese were gracious hosts but they were helped in their own efforts by two new Olympic sports: judo and volleyball. In volleyball the Japanese women, coached by the martinet-like Hirofumi Daimatsu, were easily victorious. In judo, the Japanese won three of the four gold medals. But the one they lost, in the open class to the Netherland’s Anton Geesink, was a crushing blow to the hosts.

Several repeat winners were prominent at Tokyo. Peter Snell (NZL) won the 800 metres race again and this time doubled by also winning the 1,500 metres. In the marathon, Abebe Bikila (ETH) repeated his Rome victory only a few weeks after recovering from an emergency appendectomy. Al Oerter won his third consecutive discus title, despite a disc injury in his neck, and torn rib cartilage sustained only the week before the discus throw. And in rowing, the Soviet’s Vyacheslav Ivanov also won his third consecutive title, in the single sculls.

Bid process

Bid voting at the 56th IOC Session in Munich, Germany on 26 May 1959.

Round 1
Tokyo Japan 34
Detroit, Michigan United States 10
Vienna Austria 9
Brussels Belgium 5

Ceremonies

Officially opened by Hirohito, Emperor of Japan (Emperor)
Torchbearer(s) Yoshinori Sakai (Lit flame)
Taker of the Athlete's Oath Takashi Ono
Flagbearers Full list
Olympic Flag Bearers Eight unknown members of the Maritime Self-Defense Force

Medal Disciplines

Artistic Gymnastics Equestrian Dressage Rowing
Athletics Equestrian Eventing Sailing
Basketball Equestrian Jumping Shooting
Boxing Fencing Swimming
Canoe Sprint Football Volleyball
Cycling Road Hockey Water Polo
Cycling Track Judo Weightlifting
Diving Modern Pentathlon Wrestling

Other Disciplines

Baseball Kyudo
Kendo Sumo

Medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
United States USA 36 26 28 90
Soviet Union URS 30 31 35 96
Japan JPN 16 5 8 29
Germany GER 10 22 18 50
Italy ITA 10 10 7 27
Hungary HUN 10 7 5 22
Poland POL 7 6 10 23
Australia AUS 6 2 10 18
Czechoslovakia TCH 5 6 3 14
Great Britain GBR 4 12 2 18
Bulgaria BUL 3 5 2 10
Finland FIN 3 0 2 5
New Zealand NZL 3 0 2 5
Romania ROU 2 4 6 12
Netherlands NED 2 4 4 10
Turkey TUR 2 3 1 6
Sweden SWE 2 2 4 8
Denmark DEN 2 1 3 6
Yugoslavia YUG 2 1 2 5
Belgium BEL 2 0 1 3
France FRA 1 8 6 15
Canada CAN 1 2 1 4
Switzerland SUI 1 2 1 4
Ethiopia ETH 1 0 0 1
India IND 1 0 0 1
The Bahamas BAH 1 0 0 1
Republic of Korea KOR 0 2 1 3
Trinidad and Tobago TTO 0 1 2 3
Tunisia TUN 0 1 1 2
Argentina ARG 0 1 0 1
Cuba CUB 0 1 0 1
Pakistan PAK 0 1 0 1
Philippines PHI 0 1 0 1
Islamic Republic of Iran IRI 0 0 2 2
Brazil BRA 0 0 1 1
Ghana GHA 0 0 1 1
Ireland IRL 0 0 1 1
Kenya KEN 0 0 1 1
Mexico MEX 0 0 1 1
Nigeria NGR 0 0 1 1
Uruguay URU 0 0 1 1

Most successful competitors

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Don Schollander USA 4 0 0 4
Věra Čáslavská CZE
TCH
3 1 0 4
Yukio Endo JPN 3 1 0 4
Sharon Stouder USA 3 1 0 4
Steve Clark USA 3 0 0 3
Larysa Latynina URS 2 2 2 6
Polina Astakhova URS 2 1 1 4
Kathy Ellis USA 2 0 2 4
Mauro Checcoli ITA 2 0 0 2
Ildikó Rejtő-Ujlaky-Sági HUN 2 0 0 2
Takuji Hayata JPN 2 0 0 2
Haruhiro Yamashita JPN 2 0 0 2
Donna de Varona USA 2 0 0 2
Cathy Ferguson USA 2 0 0 2
Pokey Watson USA 2 0 0 2
Gary Ilman USA 2 0 0 2
Peter Snell NZL 2 0 0 2
Tamara Press URS 2 0 0 2
Henry Carr USA 2 0 0 2
Bob Hayes USA 2 0 0 2
Mike Larrabee USA 2 0 0 2

All medalists at these Games