9 Facts About The 1964 Summer Olympics To Get You Prepped For Tokyo 2020

Tokyo just won the bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics. Let’s travel back almost half-a-century ago to the last time the city hosted the games.

1. Recently, Tokyo was chosen over Istanbul and Madrid to host to the 2020 Summer Olympics.

AP

People were excited.

JUAN MABROMATA / AFP / Getty Images

Really excited.

Adam Pretty / Getty Images

Cat ears and glow sticks in the air excited.

4. But this wasn’t the first time Tokyo was chosen to host the Summer Olympics.

Tokyo last hosted the Summer Olympics back in 1964 and there are a few things you may not know about those games.

5. 1. The 1964 Summer Olympics was the first to be held in Asia.

Flickr: jrjamesarchive / Creative Commons

93 nations participated with 5,151 athletes in all. Both the amount of nations and athletes participating in the Summer Olympic games have doubled since.

6. 2. It was the second time Tokyo won the Olympic bid (but the first time it actually hosted)

Flickr: kanamedia / Creative Commons

Tokyo was chosen to host the Olympics in 1940, but this thing called World War II kind of got in the way and the games were canceled.

7. 3. Sixteen nations, including twelve from Africa, participated for the first time.

These countries included the Dominican Republic, Mongolia, Nepal, Chad, and Madagascar. Libya also participated for the first time but did not compete after its sole athlete withdrew from the marathon.

8. 4. The torchbearer who lit the Olympic cauldron, Yoshinori Sakai, was born on August 6, 1945.

Why is the date significant? That was the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

9. 5. Judo, volleyball, and women’s pentathlon all made their Olympic debuts.

The Nippon Budokan, which was built to house the judo competition, also functions as a venue for musical events. The first rock group to perform here?

These guys.

Courtesy of the Library of Congress / upload.wikimedia.org

11. 6. Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina won five medals, leaving her with a lifetime total of 18.

She was the most decorated Olympic athlete until American swimmer Michael Phelps surpassed her 48 years later in London 2012. Latynina still holds the record for the most individual competition medals won.

12. 7. Billy Mills became the only American to ever win the men’s 10,000 meter run.

Official Marine Corps / commons.wikimedia.org

Mohammed Gammoudi from Tunisia and Ron Clarke from Australia took second and third place, respectively.

13. 8. The first official Fair Play Trophy was introduced and given to a pair of Swedish yachtsmen.

The award is given to athletes for exemplary sportsmanship during the games. Lars Gunnar Käll and Stig Lennart Käll were honored for giving up their race to aid fellow competitors whose boat had sank. Gotta love those Swedes.

14. 9. The Tōkaidō Shinkansen bullet train opened nine days before the Olympic games began, connecting Tokyo to Nagoya and Osaka.

The line currently has 17 stations and is the most heavily travelled high-speed rail route in the world.

15. We still have to wait seven years to see what kind of highlights will come out of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In the meantime, get ready, get excited, and party on.

Adam Pretty / Getty Images

Now where did I put those cat ears…

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