Article - 1964 - Olympic Games
The Olympic Games - 1964
The Olympic Games held in Tokyo in October 1964 were the 18th since they were revived after an interval of nearly fifteen hundred years.
The first Olympic Games were held in the year 776 BCE at Olympia in Greece, in honor of the god Zeus. The Games originally lasted only one day and were later extended to three days in the 5th century BCE. Greece placed great emphasis on the physical prowess of its citizens and was proud of the skill of its sportsmen in these games. The victors of each event were crowned with a simple olive wreath, but on their return home were showered with gifts of money and presents. Women were not permitted to take part in the Games and there was a period during which they were not even allowed to watch the contests. The Games were held once every four years from 776 BCE until 393 CE - 293 times in all. Then in the year 394 CE the Emperor Theodoseus banned them on the grounds that they were an expression of idol worship.
The Frenchman Baron Pierre de Coubertin worked for the revival of the Olympic Games in our times. Deeply influenced by archaeological finds made at Olympia where a stadium and a theatre were excavated, he convened a conference held at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1892, where his suggestions won enthusiastic support. In 1894 an International Olympic Committee was set up for the planning of the first Olympics to be held in Greece two years later. The revived Games were planned on a broad basis of humanitarianism and cosmopolitanism. The ancient Greeks limited the Games to one people and a single venue. "Barbarians", slaves, and even women were not allowed to participate. The revived Games, on the other hand, were planned as international gatherings, to be held in a different city each time and with the participation of all nations.
The Games had an additional value expressed in the preparations leading up to them - they were the prime motive in developing sport all over the world. But over and above that, Coubertin's declaration that participation was more important than victory, fixed a moral standard for the contests, while the official slogan of the Games-"Higher, Faster, Stronger" - defined the aims of Olympic sport. Participation in the Olympic Games is limited to amateur sportsmen and winners receive awards in the form of medals and certificates.
The first of the new series of Games was held in Athens in 1896, followed by Paris in 1900; St. Louis in 1904; London in 1908 and Stockholm in 1912. After a short interval due to the first World War, the Games were resumed in Antwerp in 1920, followed by Paris in 1924; Amsterdam in 1928; Los Angeles in 1932 and Berlin in 1936.
The Palestine Olympic Committee was founded in l932, but as the games of 1936 were held in Berlin, the Committee decided not to participate in protest against Nazi persecution. Following the War of Independence, the International Olympic Committee claimed that the Palestine Olympic Committee had ceased to exist and our sportsmen again could not take part in the games of 1948. The first time that sportsmen of the State of Israel took part was in Helsinki in 1952 to which she sent a contingent of 26 athletes. There, Yoav Raanan achieved 9th place in the high diving event. Since Helsinki, Israel has participated a number of times in the Games. At Mexico in 1968, the Israeli football team reached the peak of its achievement when in the preliminary rounds, it gained victories over Ghana and San Salvador-only to lose to Hungary. In the quarter-finals, the game against Bulgaria was drawn, and it was the spin of the coin that took Bulgaria and not Israel into the semi-finals. It was at Mexico, too, that the Israeli swimmer, Avraham Melamed, reached the semi-finals of the 100 meters butterfly event and failed by only four-tenths of a second to gain a place in the finals.
In Tokyo Israel competed in four classes of games - athletics, swimming, weight lifting and target shooting. Israel's football team participated in the pre-Olympic tournament.
The four stamps depict a runner, a discus thrower, basketball and football.