“Please send me many U.S.A. artifacts which I can use to trade with the Russians, Pols, etc. Emblems are especially desirable.”
So wrote Ted (Theo) Mittet to his family on October 4, 6 days prior to the start of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. In addition to transforming into mini-United Nations, Olympic Villages become a mini-bartering economies where the currency of trade were pins, shoes, patches, shirts and hats.
As NBA All-Star and member of gold-medal winning USA men’s basketball team, Jeff Mullins, said, the most targeted American item were the cowboy hats the men received as part of their team kit.
Mittet, a bronze-medal winning member of a four-person rowing crew, had already given away his hat as you can see in the top photo, but he was still very active in the market. And for Americans, trading with the unknown and mysterious communists had a high level of cool cachet. As you can see, Mittet traded with fellow rowers from Cuba and the Soviet Union.
Another very unique rowing jersey is from the German team. During the Cold War, the IOC got the East and West German Olympic Committees and governments to agree to a united German team from 1956 to 1964. As explained here, not only did the teams agree to using Beethoven’s 9th Symphony as their national anthem, and an altered version of the East German black, red and gold striped flag with the Olympic rings in white placed in the middle red stripe.
This is where I need help. What is the nationality of the athlete Mittet traded with to get this red rowing jersey?