Yoshinori Sakai, the Final 1964 Olympic Torchbearer
72,000 paris of eyes adopted a lone 19-year-old Waseda University pupil as he turned around the monitor at the Olympic Stadium with easy grace. The date used to be October 10, 1964, the opening day of the Tokyo Olympics. The runner used to be Yoshinori Sakai, the ultimate Olympic torchbearer. Step via step he climbed the 182 stairs and, extending his proper arm, ignited the flame that burst forth from the Olympic cauldron. Below him unfold a sea of multicolored uniforms, and past the assembled groups stretched the horizons of a Tokyo in a time prior to trendy top upward thrust constructions. “It was the best seat in the house,” Sakai recalled.
Sakai used to be born in Miyoshi, Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 simply an hour and a part after the atomic bomb used to be dropped on Hiroshima. The absolute best image of restoration from defeat, the overseas media dubbed him “Atomic Boy,” however Sakai instructed overseas newshounds, “The war has nothing to do with me. Please look at who I am now, today, not at the past.”
Sakai started working in junior highschool. His senior 12 months at Miyoshi H.S. he received the National Sports Festival 400 m, and in 1966 at the Bangkok Asian Games he took silver in the 400 m and gold in the 4×400 m relay. Sakai ran for Waseda University however did not qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. “Coach Kiyoshi Nakamura sought after to make him right into a marathoner, nevertheless it did not truly determine,” recalled former TV announcer Yoshiro Matsukura, 72, who went the similar direction as Sakai from Waseda to a occupation at Fuji TV.
Sakai’s son Atsuhiro, 44, adopted his in father’s footsteps to the TV trade, turning into a manufacturer at TBS the place he used to be in control of the May, 2014 particular overlaying the death of the 1964 Olympic Stadium. During the arrangements he stood subsequent to the Olympic cauldron. “So this is where dad stood, I thought,” he mentioned. “It really was a spectacular view.”
Sakai passed on to the great beyond September 10, 2014, simply 69 years previous. He have been taking a look ahead to seeing the opening rite of the 2d Tokyo Olympics at the side of his two grandchildren, nevertheless it used to be to not be. Sakai stored the torch he had carried and steadily introduced it to lectures and different occasions. It will likely be on show in Miyoshi starting this month to function inspiration for the ones to return.
Atsuhiro is concerned with the 2020 Games. “Dad really disliked seeing how the Olympics have become more and more commercial,” he mentioned. “I think post-2020 is what’s really important, what legacy will be left to the next generation, to the children.”
translated via Brett Larner