Tokyo 1964 Olympians reflect on game-changing Games

4 | 8 | 2021

OLY House Tokyo 2020 today welcomed six Olympians who all competed at Tokyo 1964 for a live chat on the transformational Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games.

Journalist and Tokyo 1964 historian Roy Tomizawa and the six Olympians discussed the far-reaching impact of Tokyo 1964, the first Olympic Games held in Asia and the first to be televised live around the world.

“OLY House Tokyo 2020 is all about bringing our global network of Olympians together to celebrate the Olympic Movement,” said WOA President Joël Bouzou OLY. “Hearing the stories of these Tokyo 1964 Olympians is fantastic and has been a great opportunity to learn more about how their Olympic experiences changed their lives.”

The panel delved into what it was like to compete at Japan’s first Games, shared their personal Olympic experiences and explored how the Olympic world has changed over the past 57 years.

Ada Kok OLY, Swimming, Netherlands, said:

"My time at Tokyo 1964, as a first-time Olympian, was simply overwhelming. The city itself was incredible with temples, royal palaces and skyscrapers side by side - it was also the first time ever I saw television in colour. Most of all, the people of Tokyo were so friendly and so helpful and I loved my whole experience from the minute I arrived until the moment I left."

Roger Jackson OLY, Rowing, Canada, said:

"The quality of the sports architecture at Tokyo 1964 was unbelievable and a complete revolution in terms of how sports stadia had previously been designed and built. In fact the facilities are still unique and marvellous in their design. It was something way beyond anything we had previously experienced in Canada."

Jim Bregman OLY, Judo, USA, said:

"I would tell my younger self to listen to my sensei's advice: life is very similar to Judo and all you have to do is get up just one more time than you've been thrown. Throughout life I've been thrown a lot and I have always, thankfully, got up again.

Tokyo 1964 Olympians 

  • Jim Bregman OLY Judo, USA
  • Marise Chamberlain OLY Athletics, New Zealand
  • Roger Jackson OLY Rowing, Canada
  • Ada Kok OLY Swimming, Netherlands
  • Mel Pender OLY Athletics, USA
  • Yojiro Uetake OLY Wrestling, Japan

To find out more about these Olympians, head to OLY House Tokyo 2020.

Listen to the panel discussion HERE or below.

Get in touch with the WOA Team at if you have any questions.