The Games were held in Asia for the first time and it was an opportunity for Japan to rebuild its reputation and show its economic progress to the world following on from the Second World War. The flame bearer was chosen as he was born on the day the atomic bomb exploded in Hiroshima – and marked a call for world peace. Japan invested heavily in stadia, facilities and transport networks to welcome guests. Tokyo was also the first Games to be telecast internationally.
British runner Ann Packer set a World Record in the 800m despite never having run that distance competitively before. USA Runner Bob Hayes won the 100m equalling Armin Hary’s World Record time. Peter Snell of New Zealand took golds in the 800m and 1500M finals wearing adidas. The USA finished top of the table with 90 Medals [36 Gold].
Adidas at the Olympics
Onsitsuka Tiger were the official sponsor of the Japan Athletic team, the Dassler’s had first come across the brand at the previous games. Once again adidas and PUMA went head to head to compete for the best athletes, with adidas having the advantage of being the official outfitters of the German Olympic Team. Horst could boast 80% of athletes wore adidas and a medal count of 33 Gold, 34 Silver and 32 Bronze.
The ‘Tokyo 64’ was another Adi secret weapon. Adidas kept their best competition models under wraps until just before an event, in fear of competitors copying their designs. Adi first tested kangaroo suede as an upper in 1963 and the material allowed for an even lighter shoe. The shoe has an ergonomically positioned spike plate and the lengths of spikes could be interchanged depending upon the conditions of the race. New padding and foot form were also utilized - to make the most state of the art track shoe to date. Mike Larrabee, Bob Hayes, Billy Mills and Ann Packer all took Gold wearing the Tokyo 64.
The ‘Olympiade’ (later called ‘Olympia’) really is the beginning of the modern training shoe. From a technical point of it features everything;- a new ‘Olympia’ sole with midsole cushioning encased in rubber foxing, a built in arch support, a strengthened heel support and additional padding around the ankle. Like the ‘Tokyo 64’ Adi kept the shoe a secret until just before the Games.