So thought French track star, Michel Jazy. In 1964, when all one might hear and read about is whether the US or USSR would dominate in the medals race, Jazy dreamed of a new power, one formed of the united states of Europe, a vision hatched from the ruins of World War II, when leaders looked for ways to avoid all together the devastation of extreme nationalism.

Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany signed The Treaty

Michel Jazy - French Miler  August 30, 1965 X 10862 credit:  Gerry Cranham - assign
Michel Jazy – French Miler
August 30, 1965
X 10862
credit: Gerry Cranham – assign

of Rome which established the European Economic Community in 1957. Jazy extended that thinking, and imagined a time when Europe would be the dominant player in the grandest of the global sporting competitions.

Sports Illustrated described this point in their October 5, 1964 issue.

Michel Jazy, the French distance runner, could see medals practically pouring from heaven as he explained his enthusiastic endorsement of a proposal that a European juggernaut be formed from countries in the Common Market, ostensibly to challenge Russia and the U.S. for team points—points that are unofficial and contrary to the best Olympic intentions. “A European team,” said Jazy, “would be world-beaters!”

Michel Jazy was

“Are there any people here tonight who were at the first Beatles show at Budokan? That’s a lot of people! Put your hands up. Hi guys! Good to see you again!”

And then the legend, the forever boyish Paul McCartney launched into “Another Girl”, performing at the Budokan on April 28.

The Beatles were the first entertainers ever to perform at the Nippon Budokan, on June 30, 1966, some 49 years ago. The Budokan was planned and built very quickly,

Beaumont Enterprise, July 25, 2012
Beaumont Enterprise, July 25, 2012

Luke Jackson was a center and instrumental member of the US Men’s basketball team in Tokyo. In this picture from Beaumont Enterprise, Jackson shows what the best in the world play for.

Luke Jackson basketball card“I had one thing in mind – to win the gold medal representing my country,” Jackson told me in an interview. ” When they call your name and the anthem is playing, you are just so touched when you receive the medal for your country. I cried like a baby. I love my medal. It’s beautiful.”

Luke Jackson went on to a career in the NBA right after the Tokyo Olympics,

Tyson Gay, a member of the 4X100 US men’s relay team, had returned his silver medal from the 2012 London Summer Games a year ago. And yet, two years later, the cloud from his drug-enhanced achievement continued to hang over the rest of his teammates. Yesterday, the hammer came down from the International Olympic Committee and the entire US 4×100 relay team were stripped of their silver medals.

Tyson Gay_second from left_Hassan Ammar AP
Tyson Gay_second from left_Hassan Ammar AP

As this NY Times article reported, there is a silver lining, at least for Trinidad and Tobago men’s 4X100 team, which could eventually be recognized as second place winners, while France’s team could end up with bronze.

This wasn’t the first Olympic disqualification, nor will it be the last. As this link – Top 10 Athletes Who Lost Their Olympic Medal – shows, history abounds with the fallen and disgraced, including:

  • Ben Johnson: The Canadian sprinter set the world record in the 100 meter race in Seoul in 1988, but only 3 days later failed a drug test for the steroid, Stanozolol, and was forced to surrender his gold medal.
  • Andreea Raducan: The Romanian gymnast won two gold medals as well as silver in various individual and team events in the Sydney Games in 2000, but gave them up after testing positive for pseudoephedrine.
  • Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall: The Swedish pentathlete was found to have consumed alcohol – two beers to be exact – which was classified as a drug at the time in 1968. Though Sweden won a medal for the Men’s Pentathlete Team competition in Mexico City, they had to return their medals.
  • Marion Jones: The American sprinter was found to have taken steroids, resulting of being stripped of 6 Olympic medals won at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney.
  • Jim Thorpe: The star of the Stockholm Games in 1912, Thorpe was disqualified and relieved of his gold medals in the pentathlon and decathlon. His crime? He had played professional baseball, earning a pittance to play.
Japan Times, October 8, 1964
Japan Times, October 8, 1964

Nicola Zappeti, recently released from prison, found himself in Tokyo in the late 1950s with nothing but a notion that Japan needed a pizzaria. And so he cajoled enough friends and acquaintances to provide him with funds to start an Italian restaurant, despite the fact that the only thing he knew about the restaurant business was that he liked Italian food. From nothing, Zappetti created a culinary icon, explains author and old Japan hand, Robert Whiting describes in his book, “Tokyo Underworld – The Fast Times and Hard Life of an American Gangster in Japan“.

“Nicola’s was still the attraction. It now occupied an entire newly constructed three-story concrete building with forty large tables, two blocks from its original location and a stone’s throw from the opulent new Hotel Okura, modeled after an ancient Kyoto palace and adjudged to be the finest hotel in the world. The restaurant had made Roppongi synonymous with pizza.

tokyo underworld“Although Crown Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko had subsequently curtailed their pizza-eating excursions to concentrate on the task of producing an heir to the throne, Nicola’s remained a Who’s Who of Tokyo and international society. On any given night,

Life Magazine, 11 September 1964
Life Magazine, 11 September 1964

“Bowling is the hottest new sports fad in Japan, and Tokyo has the biggest bowling center in the world, with 120 lanes. This monster, the Shinagawa Bowling Center, is open until 3 in the morning. It attracts, in addition to serious bowlers, a good many beatniks and nightclub hostesses after the clubs have closed. Other bowling lanes where a little English is spoken include the Tokyo Bowling Center, right next to Meiji Olympic Park, Tokyo Bowl at Tokyo Tower and the Korakuen Bowling Arena in Korakuen Park. Reservations are necessary, especially at night. All of these places have restaurants and bars, but the food is not recommended. Bowling costs a steep 60¢ to $1 a line.” Sports Illustrated – July 6, 1964

I went to a birthday party at this bowling alley last April. I bowled one of my best games ever – 158.