The Victory Hug of the Tokyo Games

BBC
BBC

They appear to waddle more than walk. But that’s how you attain speeds of 8 km per hour without ever having a foot leave the ground at any time.

Ken Matthews, the electrician from Erdington, England, tasted bitter disappointment in Rome, failing to complete the 20km walk at the Rome Olympics. Determined to compete in Tokyo, he clocked out at 5pm from the local power plant, and pounded the roads in training. As he said in this FT.com article, he gave himself “a thrashing”, building up his stamina and

16th December 1964:  Britain's Ken Matthews is supported by his wife Sheila after winning the 20 kilometre walk at the Tokyo Olympic Games in a record time of 1 hour 29 minutes 34 seconds.  (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)
16th December 1964: Britain’s Ken Matthews is supported by his wife Sheila after winning the 20 kilometre walk at the Tokyo Olympic Games in a record time of 1 hour 29 minutes 34 seconds. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

power in his legs.

And there he was, all alone as he entered the National Stadium on October 15, setting an Olympic record in the 20-kilometer walk.

And there she was, all of a sudden, on the track and embracing her husband, the Olympic champion.

As the Japan Times wrote the next day, “it was probably the first time in the history of Japanese athletics that such an affectionate spectacle was witnessed.