A celebration of sport and human resilience, the Olympics is a testament of how much we can physically achieve through sheer will and determination.
The delayed 2020 Summer Olympics took place beginning on July 23, 2021 at Japan’s Olympic (National) Stadium in Tokyo, and its opening ceremony was formally officiated by Emperor Hirohito. The ceremony marked the 125th anniversary of the first Summer Olympics that started in Athens, Greece, in 1896.
The theme of Tokyo’s 2020 Summer Olympics opening ceremony is Moving Forward, referencing the collective global stand against the Covid-19 pandemic with the official slogan: United by Emotion.
Although celebrations at the opening ceremony took on a more sombre approach in light of heightened safety and security protocols, as well as local protests, the Games still represents an unfailing sense of continuity and hope for the human spirit.
21st century pyrotechnics never fail to impress and awe, but how did the Olympics look almost 60 years ago? Here are some nostalgic and beautiful photos of Tokyo’s first Summer Olympics in 1964.
TOKYO SUMMER OLYMPICS 1964
Balloons floating over the stadium at the opening ceremony of the 1964 Summer Olympics.
Torches that had been carried by runners on different routes around Japan are joined into one at a pre-Olympics ceremony outside the Imperial Palace.
Local practice matches at the Komazawa National Stadium prior to the opening of the Olympic Games.
Japanese Olympic torch runner Yoshinori Sakai from Hiroshima raises his arm after lighting the Olympic torch during the opening ceremony.
The German team marches onto the field during the opening ceremony.
Aerial view of the Meiji shrine and Olympics site in Tokyo.
One of Japan’s top runners, Saburo Komizo of Chuo University, works out with a remote-controlled running pacer in Tokyo’s national stadium.
Start of the 10,000-meter run at the 1964 Olympics.
Ginko Abukawa-Chiba of Japan performs her floor exercise during the women’s artistic team all-around gymnastic competition.
Two Italian cyclists talk to Ethiopian athletes.
Gold medalist Henry Carr of the United States salutes the crowd with silver medallist Paul Drayton (left) and third-place bronze medallist Edwin Roberts of Trinidad and Tobago after winning the men’s 200-meter competition.
Alfred Kornprobst of the Unified Team of Germany competes in the men’s lightweight weightlifting competition.
Gold medalist Peter Snell (center) of New Zealand celebrates with silver medalist Josef Odlozil (left) of Czechoslovakia and bronze medal–winning compatriot John Davies on the podium for the final of the men’s 1500-meter race.
American runner Bob Hayes practices starts with New Zealand’s Doreen Porter.
Japanese runner Yoshinori Sakai from Hiroshima carries the Olympic torch during an opening ceremony rehearsal.
Photo of the Olympic torch before the commencement of the Olympic Games.
Kenneth Sitzberger of the United States competes in the men’s 3-meter springboard diving competition.
Laszlo Felkai of Hungary puts the ball past goalkeeper Bruno de Hesselle of the Netherlands during their men’s water polo tournament Group B match.
The start of the men’s individual cycle road race.
Henri Chaumartin of Switzerland performs in the team dressage finals with teammate Gustav Fischer, who placed second.
The Yoyogi National Stadium Olympic Village, where the athletes would live for the duration of the Games.
Pigeons fly over the national delegations taking part in the Olympic Games parade during the opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium.
Resource credit: Pia Peterson / Buzzfeed News.
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