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Composition: Copper
Shape / Size: Round / 61 mm x 8 mm thick
Weight: 118 grams
Mintage: 17,000
Designer: Taro Okamoto & Kazumitsu Tanaka


Stylized figures of three runners and a swimmer atop an olive branch adorns the obverse while the Olympic rings divide English and Japanese characters (legend) XVIII / OLYMPIADE (Kanji characters) / TOKYO / 1964. The medals were presented in a wooden box imprinted with the Olympic rings and legend TOKYO 1964.


The 1964 Games were the first to be held in Asia. The Japanese expressed their successful reconstruction after World War II by choosing as the final torchbearer Yoshinori Sakai, who was born in Hiroshima the day that that city was destroyed by an atomic bomb. Judo and volleyball were introduced to the Olympic program. American swimmer Don Schollander won four gold medals. Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia became the first repeat winner of the marathon - less than six weeks after having his appendix removed. Russian rower Vyacheslav Ivanov won the single sculls for the third time, and Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser won the 100m freestyle for the third time. Al Oerter of the United States did the same in the discus throw despite a cervical disc injury that forced him to wear a neck harness and torn rib cartilage incurred a week before the competition. Hungarian water polo player Dezso Gyarmati won his fifth medal in a row. Another Hungarian, Greco-Roman wrestler Imre Polyak, finally won a gold medal after finishing second in the same division at the previous three Olympics. By winning two medals of each kind, Larysa Latynina of the Ukraine brought her career medal total to an incredible 18. She is also one of only four athletes in any sport to win nine gold medals.

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