Games of the XVIII Olympiad
10 October - 24 October 1964
The Games Travel to Asia
The 18th Olympic Games, held in Japan’s capital city, Tokyo, were the first to be held in Asia. These only the second Olympics – after Los Angeles in 1932 – for which most horses had to travel across the world. Unlike 1932, when only six nations had been represented, 116 riders from 20 countries competed in Tokyo. There was no economic crisis as there had been in the 30s and there was now air transport.
Horses Learn to Fly
Most horses came by aircraft, three had to be destroyed. The US Eventer Markham panicked on departure from Newark. Chile lost a Jumping horse on the way to Tokyo after a heart attack, and an Argentinean horse had to be destroyed on the flight home. The German team departed from Amsterdam on 28 September at noon and arrived, with a stop-over in Anchorage, Alaska, on 29 September at 3pm. From Tokyo airport, after a quarantine period in Yokohama, the Eventing horse had a five-hour road transport to Karuizawa where the competition was to begin two weeks later. The Soviet horses came by sea and were caught in a typhoon.
Relations with the IOC
The relations between the IOC and the FEI, which had been tense after the judging scandal of 1956, had eased. But problematic questions, especially concerning military personnel, remained. In November 1963, IOC President Avery Brundage had written to all International Federations to inform them of a decision that military personnel could only be exempted from regular duty for three days to train for the Olympics. It was even suggested that officers should be excluded altogether from the Games.
The IOC also insisted that there should be one medal for one effort. This was not a problem for Dressage – the Grand Prix decided the team medals and the ride-off/Grand Prix Special the individual medals – nor was it for Jumping where two separate competitions had been held since Rome in 1960. At the time, no one saw a solution for Eventing.
Games Facts & Figures
- 93 nations
- 5,151 athletes (678 women; 4,473 men)
- 19 sports
- The last carrier of the flame, Yoshinori Sakai, was chosen because he was born on 6 August 1945, the day the atomic bomb exploded in Hiroshima, in homage to the victims and as a call for peace in the world.