The journalism of the 1960s had a bit to be desired at times. UPI used the indelicate way of asking why so many smaller, less developed nations were participating in the Tokyo Olympic Games. It wasn’t a quote – it was UPI editorializing quite matter of factly – “why do the losers bother to come”? Burma, Malaysia, Pakistan, Mali, Senegal, Mali – in fact 20 new nations were participating in the Olympics for the first time in 1964. The answer given in the article by the chef de mission of Burma – “We’re here to learn”. Good answer.

Smaller Nations_10Oct
From The Japan Times, October 10, 1964

NIBLBill Bradley of Princeton. Walt Hazzard of UCLA. Jeff Mullins of Duke. These were a few of the star collegians of the US Men’s basketball team that won the Gold Medal in 1964. But that championship team was also made up of members of the NIBL – The National Industrial Basketball League. Jerry Shipp of The Phillips 66ers, and Larry Brown, Pete McCaffrey and Dick Davis from the Goodyear Wingfoots.

The NIBL was an amateur league that provided a full-time job to basketball players, who

AP Photo of Sakai lighting the torch

Hosting the 1964 Olympic Games was hugely significant for Japan as it returned to the global stage as a peaceful, economically confident nation. It was also a massive undertaking, with some estimates suggesting Tokyo spent the equivalent of its national budget on a major building program that transformed the city’s infrastructure–a far cry from plans for a slimmed-down 2020 summer games. – Wall Street Journal

press pass _revisedThis was my father’s identity card for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Through his work for NBC News, and NBC’s sustained relationship to the Olympic Games, I was a fan of the greatest sports competition in the world. I was only one years-old at the time of the Tokyo Olympic Games, and of course remember nothing of it. But come 2020, when the Summer Games return to Tokyo, I will be there.