How many times has tokyo hosted the Olympics before 2021 schedule

Tokyo 2020: Has Japan previously hosted the Olympics? The story of the 1964 Summer Olympics and their eponymous torchbearer.

While this summer's Games have been characterized as solemn, the 1964 Olympics served as a beacon of hope for Japan's postwar recovery.

Tokyo 2020 was "never an option" for the International Olympic Committee (IOC). That is despite the city remaining in an emergency state, no fans in stadiums, and an increasing number of Covid cases in the Olympic Village.

The Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association has warned that the city's hospitals have "nearly no spare capacity." Despite these odds and contrary advice, the show must go on, and for the first time in more than half a century – and a year later than scheduled – Tokyo will host the summer Olympics.

How many times has tokyo hosted the Olympics before 2021 schedule
Yoshinori Sakai, the torch bearer for the 1964 opening ceremony.

The modern Olympics were held in the country for the first time in 1964, also marking the first time Asia hosted the event. Without the outbreak of the Second World War, Japan might have won hosting rights much sooner.

Tokyo was promised the Games in 1940, but following Japan's invasion of China, the IOC decided to relocate the Games to Helsinki, Finland. They were ultimately canceled as a result of the conflict, as was the 1944 edition scheduled for London.

Two decades later, the Games served as a symbol of Japan's reintegration into the international community – and one of the most extraordinary moments occurred during the opening ceremony, rather than in the track, field, or pool.

Yoshinori Sakai, a runner, was chosen as the torchbearer because he was born in Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, the day the city was devastated by an atomic bomb.

Sakai, who carried the torch at the age of 19, never competed in an Olympics – though he did win gold and silver at the Asian Games two years later.

Nonetheless, he served as a symbol of the nation's recovery, and the Games were a monumental success, with millions of tickets sold and the introduction of satellite broadcasting, which enabled events to be telecast live around the world for the first time. Among the most memorable triumphs was that of Ethiopian barefoot runner Abebe Bikila, who successfully defended his Rome 1960 marathon title.

As was the case with Tokyo 2020, there were also more sobering moments. South Africa was denied entry for the first time as part of the sporting world's protest against apartheid. The International Olympic Committee had demanded that South Africa end its policy of sending racially segregated teams to compete, but the South African government refused, resulting in their expulsion.

At Tokyo 1964, the medal table.
At Tokyo 1964, the medal table.

There were still 5,151 athletes representing 93 Olympic Committees in attendance, with Judo and volleyball making their Olympic debuts. The athletes planted seeds for commemorative trees, which were later cut down and their wood used to construct the Olympic rings seen during Friday's opening ceremony.

The USA dominated the sporting arena, winning 36 gold medals, 26 silver medals, and 28 bronze medals.

America's dominance would be surpassed by the Soviet Union in the following decade, and indeed, the USA boycotted Moscow 1980 entirely.

While the 1964 legacy remains strong, the triumphant staging of the Games feels worlds apart from the atmosphere in Tokyo this summer.

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