The Games of the XVIII Olympiad – Tokyo 1964
In 1964, the Olympic Games made their way to the Asian continent for the first time. This premiere was granted to Tokyo again, 24 years after the planned Games of 1940. The Japanese wanted to prove that they had recovered from the horrors of World War II. To underline this, they chose Yoshinori Sakai, who had been born in Hiroshima on the day the atomic bomb devastated the city, as the final torchbearer.
The Tokyo Games stood out for their perfect administration and became a testimony to Japan’s enormous economic and technological rise in the post-war period. The country, torn apart by war shortly before, literally rose from the ashes within a few years. The peaceful message of the Games became omnipresent.
On the sporting level, the Games surpassed all previous Games. This is reflected in the fact that most existing Olympic records were broken and 35 world records were set. The Tokyo Olympics also added 13 new disciplines, including volleyball for the first time.
Since 1936, when the hosting of the Olympic Games was first awarded to Tokyo, the Games have been accompanied by the rapid development of telecommunications technology. For the first time in the history of television, the Berlin Games were televised live for the athletes in the Olympic Village and for the fans in 25 broadcasting halls in Berlin. From the 1960 Games in Rome, live TV coverage was transmitted throughout Europe. Another milestone was set in Tokyo in 1964. Thanks to the first geostationary telecommunications satellite, Syncom 3, the Games were broadcast live to the United States of America for the first time. Four years later in Mexico City, the Games were telecasted in colour for the first time. Today, billions of viewers around the globe follow the Games on live TV.
Likewise, the Games were always accompanied by the latest technical innovations. For example, 10 days before the 1964 Games, Japan put the first Shinkansen high-speed train from Tokyo to Osaka into operation. It can be assumed that this year’s Olympic Games will also be a showcase of modern technologies and technical solutions that seemed to come from the realm of science fiction just a generation ago.
Let us now relive the Olympic Games in Tokyo 1964 after 57 years!