|Competition type||Olympic Games|
|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|
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 voting at the 56th IOC Session in Munich, Germany on 26 May 1959.
|Detroit, Michigan||United States||10|
|Officially opened by||Hirohito, Emperor of Japan (Emperor)|
|Torchbearer(s)||Yoshinori Sakai (Lit flame)|
|Taker of the Athlete's Oath||Takashi Ono|
|Olympic Flag Bearers||Eight unknown members of the Maritime Self-Defense Force|
|Artistic Gymnastics||Equestrian Dressage||Rowing|
|Cycling Road||Hockey||Water Polo|
|Republic of Korea||KOR||0||2||1||3|
|Trinidad and Tobago||TTO||0||1||2||3|
|Islamic Republic of Iran||IRI||0||0||2||2|
|Věra Čáslavská|| CZE
|Donna de Varona||USA||2||0||0||2|