1964 - Tokyo

A memorable Olympics as they are held in Asia for the first time with plenty of success for British athletes

TOKYO had spent over £2 billion on new facilities and infrastructure for these Olympic Games, and it proved to be money well spent.

From the moment Emperor Hirohito opened the Games to the closing ceremony, the competition was a resounding success and helped re-establish Japan as part of the international community after World War Two.

Emotion dominated the opening as Hirohito lit the Olympic flame with a torch handed to him by Yoshinori Sakai, a runner born near Hiroshima on the day the atom bomb was dropped there in 1945.

He then raised the Olympic flag to the top of a flagpole that was 15.21 metres high - the distance that won triple jumper Miklo Oda, Japan's first ever-gold medal in the 1928 Games.

Japan's greatest sporting passion of judo was included in the Games for the first time, netting the home country three gold medals. Japan went on to finish third in the overall medals table.

One of the foreign stars of the Games was a Sioux American named Billy Mills who took the gold medal in the 10,000 metres against the odds.

Having finished only second in the United States trials, Mills ran a supreme final 200m to snatch victory from the favourite, Australian Ron Clarke.

Ethiopian Abebe Bikila became the first man to defend the marathon title, winning despite donning shoes for the first time in major competition and having not long recovered from an operation to remove his appendix.

Carrying the flag for Great Britain was Mary Rand in the long jump, who became the first British woman to win track and field gold at the Olympics.

Not to be outdone, Ann Packer equalled the achievement by winning the 800m in Olympic record time to add to her silver in the 400m. Lynn Davies also struck gold, in the long jump.

While individual performances lit up the Tokyo Olympics it was the overall feel of the Games that won the hearts of the millions of television viewers worldwide.

Over 5,000 athletes battled for medals, egged on by thousands of enthusiastic Japanese fans enjoying some of the best facilities ever seen at the Olympics.

Even the fact South Africa were suspended because of its government's racist policies - a ban that would last for 28 years - and Indonesia and North Korea boycotted the event did not detract from the feel good factor surrounding these Games.

Tokyo will be remembered for the emotional opening ceremony, the high standard of competition and the goodwill that set the tone for Olympic celebrations to come.

Date Games held: October 10-24

Number of nations represented: 93

Number of competitors: 5081 (683 women)

Number of medal events: 163

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