Roy_summer vacation_1967 maybe
Roy, sometime between the Tokyo and Mexico City Olympic Games.

On this, the last day of 2015, I’d like to thank everyone for their support of my blog – The Olympians. I have posted at least once every day since I started the blog on May 1. Out of about 300 posts, I’ve selected 25 that I personally like, in good part because I’ve had the great fortune to talk with the people mentioned in these stories.

  1. A Helicopter View of US-USSR Relations, Olympic Style
  2. American Gymnast Makoto Sakamoto and Memories of Home: Post-War Shinjuku
  3. Arnold Gordon (Part 1): Befriending Judy Garland at Manos in Shinjuku
  4. The Banning of Headgear in Boxing: The Convoluted World of Protecting Our Athletes
  5. Clumsy Handoff, Beautiful Result: A World Record Finish for the American 4X400 Relay Team in Tokyo
  6. Coach Hank Iba: The Iron Duke of Defense Who Led the Men’s Basketball Team to Gold in 1964
  7. Creativity by Committee: The 2020 Olympic Emblem and the Rio Olympic Mascots?
  8. Crowded, Noisy, Dirty, Impersonal: Tokyo in the 1960s
  9. The Dale McClements’ Diary: From Athlete to Activist
  10. Doug Rogers, Star of the Short Film “Judoka”: A Fascinating Look at Japan, and the Foreigner Studying Judo in the 1960s
  11. Escape from East Berlin in October 1964: A Love Story
  12. Escape from Manchuria: How the Father of an Olympian Left a Legacy Beyond Olympic Proportions
  13. Fame: Cover Girl and Canadian Figure Skater Sandra Bezic
  14. Frank Gorman: Harvard Star, Tokyo Olympian, and Now Inductee to the International Swimming Hall of Fame
  15. The Geesink Eclipse – The Day International Judo Grew Up
  16. India Beats Pakistan in Field Hockey: After the Partition, the Sporting Equivalent of War
  17. The Narrow Road to the Deep North
  18. On Being Grateful: Bob Schul
  19. Protesting Via Political Cartoons: Indonesia Boycotts the Tokyo Olympics
  20. The Sexist Sixties: A Sports Writers Version of “Mad Men” Would Make the Ad Men Blush
  21. “Swing” – The Danish Coxless Fours Found It, and Gold, in Tokyo
  22. Toby Gibson: Boxer, Lawyer, Convict
  23. Vesper Victorious Under Rockets Red Glare – A Dramatic Finish to One of America’s Greatest Rowing Accomplishments
  24. What it Means to Be an Olympian: Bill Cleary Remembers
  25. Who is that Bald-Headed Beauty: The Mystery of the Soviet Javelin Champion
From the book,
Is this Arnold Gordon? From the book, “XVIII Olympiad Tokyo 1964”

I wrote in a very recent post about the closing ceremony at the XVIII Olympiad in Tokyo about how an orderly march turned into a disorderly lovefest, which the athletes remember with great fondness. I also wrote about a mysterious character who appeared from nowhere in the National Stadium wearing the number “351” on his shirt and ran along the track. The AP report I referenced stated that the man was Arnold Gordon, a citizen of Sierra Leone.

In this interview from the BBC in its coverage of the London Games in 2012, a man named Arnold Gordon talks about how he (and apparently two others) made their way through security to crash the party as it were. My guess is that Gordon is not from Sierra Leone as the AP cites, but from England. Not only did he have wondrous encounters with Judy Garland, as described here, Gordon joined the biggest party in Japan simply by walking on the field. Here is how he told the story.

We decided we would gate crash the closing ceremony so three of us got dressed up in track suits and sneaked into the stadium. They caught the other two, but I was able to run around the stadium, waving to the crowd. They were shouting, urging me on. And I waved and I waved and I ran and ran until was caught and dragged off, out of the stadium.

You can find the above interview starting at the 1 hour 1 minute mark of this program called, Saturday Live BBC.

Per David Price,
Per David Price, ” June 23, 1964 … joining the Allen Brothers for a song during the opening night of their of their Tokyo Hilton engagement.”

Arnold Gordon was having a blast. He made his way from England to Tokyo so he could to the Tokyo Games in 1964. He hitchhiked from Paris to Pakistan, took a boat to India and then another boat from Bombay to Tokyo. He got to see boxing and gymnastics, as well as enjoy the nightlife in the area around the Olympic Village.

According to this fascinating interview of Gordon, taped by the BBC as part of the run up to the London Olympics in 2012, Gordon told this tale. You can find it starting at the 1 hour 1 minute mark of this program called, Saturday Live BBC.

I was living in Shinjuku, which was the great center of Tokyo, where everything was happening, I was sharing a house with some Australians. Now and again some of the athletes when they finished their running and jumping or whatever they did would come around to our house, and sit and drink beer. I remember a couple of Russian athletes were brought down to our house because it was a getaway from being watched and being looked after.

We would go out and eat and drink. It was wonderful. There were so many people there. Lots of artists who were working therein cabarets and shows. And we would meet after midnight at a restaurant called Manos, which was run by a rather crazy Russian. It was where we went to eat Russian food. People would come down after they finished their acts. The atmosphere was quite fun. One of the artists who was appearing in Tokyo at the time was Judy Garland. And she used to come down there after she finished her cabaret act. We got to know her very well. We got to sit and talk with her. She used to buy us drinks. It was a small group of foreigners so you got to know each other very well. In fact, one of my best friends, Peter, in fact eventually married her daughter Liza. So we mixed very well.

One evening they were playing one of her records, old vinyl, so she went up to the DJ and grabbed the vinyl off the turntable and said that’s a horrible recording. I can sing better than that. And then she sat at the piano, and sang “Over the Rainbow”. I’ll never forget it. Just thinking about it gives me shivers down my spine. It really was magical. Everybody stopped and listened to her. OK her voice was not as good as it used to be before, but it was Judy Garland singing to us, “Over the Rainbow”. But to see her, she was a bit short and dumpy. Not as attractive as she was earlier in life. But she was a feisty, fun person to be with. She sat at the piano and sang. Even today, 40 years later, I can still feel a tingle when I hear Judy Garland singing as if she is only singing to us. Oh it takes me right back, to my youth. It really does.