Japan spent nearly $3 billion, six times as much as any previous host country, on the first Asian Olympics which succeeded triumphantly in their primary aim of regenerating the war-ravaged city.
The torch was carried into the stadium by 19-year-old Yoshinori Sakai, born near Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, an hour after the first atomic bomb destroyed the city.
Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser attracted more than her share of headlines, first for winning a third consecutive 100 metres freestyle gold medal and then for her part on a flag-raiding mission to the Emperor's palace. American Don Schollander became the first swimmer to win four gold medals and Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina gathered two golds, two silvers and two bronzes to bring her career total to 18.
On the track American Bob Hayes was awesome in the men's 100 metres final, equalling the world record of 10.0 seconds.
New Zealander Peter Snell won the 800-1,500 double and Billy Mills, an American with Sioux Indian ancestry, came from nowhere to win the 10,000 metres ahead of Australia's world record holder Ron Clarke.
** Tokyo, Japan was the host for the 1964 Games, the first by
an Asian country.
**The Olympic flame for the 1964 Games
was brought into the stadium by a young runner Yoshinori Sakai, who had been
born near Hiroshima on the day the atom bomb was dropped there in 1945.
**The Olympic flag for the 1964 Games was raised to the top
of flagpole, which measured 15.21m, the distance reached in the triple jump by
Mikio Oda in 1928 when he won Japan's first gold medal.
**Mary Rand won Britain its first gold medal in women's
athletics when she took the long jump title during the 1964 Games.
**Swimmer Galina Prozumenshchikova in the 200m breaststroke
in the 1964 Games won Soviet Union its first ever swimming gold medal.
**American Dob Schollander at Tokyo in 1964 became the
first swimmer to win four golds in a single Games.
**Australia's swimmer Dawn Fraser won her third consecutive
100m freestyle title in the 1964 Games - a unique achievement in swimming. She
took her total haul to eight medals, a record for a female swimmer.
** Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina between 1956 and 1964
won the maximum 18 medals, including nine golds during her career - the maximum
won by any athlete in the Olympics.
** Polish wrestler Imre
Polyak finally won a gold medal in the 1964 Games after gaining three silvers in
the previous three Games since 1952.
** Judo was included
in the 1964 Games at the request of the hosts, Japan, who were considered the
best at this sport. But Dutchman Anton Geesink caused a major upset when he won
the Open class event.
** Bill Bradley, who led the United
States basketball team to its sixth consecutive victory in the 1964 Games, later
became a member of the US Senate.
** The 1964 Games also
saw the first Olympic wedding, as two Bulgarian athletes, long jumper Diana
Yorgova and gymnast Nikolai Prodanov, exchanged vows at a ceremony in the
** In the men's springboard contest in the
1964 Games, US divers earned the gold and silver medals for the tenth
** In the 1964 Games Ethiopian Abebe
Bikila became the first repeat winner of the marathon - less than six weeks
after having his appendix removed.
** American Al Oerter
won his third gold in the discus throw in the 1964 Games despite a cervical disc
injury, which forced him to wear a neck harness.
cycling event for the 195km long road race in the 1964 Games was so close that
even though Sture Petterson of Sweden finished only sixteen-hundredths of a
second behind the winner, Mario Zanin of Italy, he ended up in 51st place!