Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games
Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games - XVIII Olympiad
My memory of the Tokyo Olympics is getting up early to watch the Television - no VCR back in those days. What still haunts me is theme tune - Tokyo melody.
American swimmer Don Schollander won four gold medals and Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser won the 100m freestyle for the third time. Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia became the first repeat winner of the marathon - less than six weeks after having his appendix removed. Russian rower Vyacheslav Ivanov won the single sculls for the third time.
Al Oerter of the United States is one of my top 10 Olympic heroes. He won his third discus gold medal in the Tokyo games, and would go on to win a fourth in Mexico city. In 1964 he won despite a cervical disc injury that forced him to wear a neck harness. Hungarian water polo player Dezso Gyarmati won his fifth medal in a row.
Another Hungarian, Greco-Roman wrestler Imre Polyak, finally won a gold medal after finishing second in the same division at the previous three Olympics. By winning two medals of each kind, Larysa Latynina of the Ukraine brought her career medal total to an incredible 18. She is also one of only four athletes in any sport to win nine gold medals.
'Bullet' Bob Hayes
Bob Hayes won the 100m gold medal despite wearing borrowed shoes and running in a chewed-up lane 1. (In those days they drew lots for lane numbers.) His time of 10.0 equalled the world record at the time. However, it was when it came to the 100m relay that the 'Bullet' showed the world what he could really do, and why he earned the tag of the 'fastest man on the planet'.
The grainy black-and-white film of the 4x100 relay shows Hayes take the baton on the last leg in about 5th place. He was at least 5m down on the French race leader. Then the 'Bullet' unleashed what many think is still the fastest last leg ever run. After 50 yards he had caught everyone including the Frenchman, and won pulling away by a good 3m. Study of the film indicates that he may have run that 100m in under 8.5 seconds.
Bob Hayes went on to star for the Dallas Cowboys, and is the only man to win an Olympic gold medal and a SuperBowl ring. He was such a fast wide receiver in American Football that no defensive back could catch him. Consequently, opponents had to scheme special zone coverage schemes just to contain that blistering acceleration seen in that Olympic relay final. As Bob also had a physical presence, that did not work too well and he set numerous receiving records, including a 95 yd touch down reception which is still the longest by a Dallas player. In 2009 Bob Hayes was posthumously inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.
Lyn 'The Leap' Davies
It was wonderful news that Welshman Lyn 'The Leap' Davies won the long jump. There is a well known syndrome that teenage boys try and emulate their heroes, they pretend to score winning goals, or smash balls to the boundary. Well this teenager - Guy Thomas, literally came down to earth with a bump. Even with my longest run-up I could not jump from the white board actually into the sand pit. Still, as long as Lyn the Leap soared over 8 meters and collected the gold medal - I didn't care that I could not jump 8 ft.
1. Lynn DAVIES (GBR) 8.07m.
Will remembers David Coleman's commentary on BBC television on the Women's 800m final. Ann Packer [GB] was the slowest of the starters in the final and had only run the distance 5 times before in competition. A 400m runner, it was the finishing burst of speed of a sprinter around the final bend which lives in Will's memory. She moved passed the opposition as if they were standing still to win the gold medal in a world record time of 2 minutes 1.1 seconds.
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