PHOENIX, Arizona, October 10. THE 1964 Olympics was one of the few times the biggest sporting event in the world was not held during the summer months, but that didn’t deter may of the athletes from making it one of the most memorable fortnights in history.
The Japanese capital was where gymnast Larisa Latynina captured five more medals for a final tally of 18, a record that would stand until last year when Michael Phelps surpassed it in London with 22. Billy Mills became the only American male to win the 10,000-meter run, and to date remains the only American with that distinction.
In the pool, Don Schollander became the first swimmer to win more than two gold medals in one Olympics, taking four. That meet also introduced the 400 individual medley to the Olympic program, won by Dick Roth and Donna De Varona.
But it was Dawn Fraser who was the star of the meet, doing something that would take someone 32 years to repeat. The Australian won the 100 freestyle for the third consecutive Olympics, though her win wasn’t as easy as it was in 1960 in Rome or in 1956 in Melbourne. Chased by American Sharon Stouder, who stayed at Fraser’s hip the entire way, Fraser won the race in 59.5 to Stouder’s 59.9. Kathy Ellis of the United States finished third with a 1:00.8.
Today’s Throwback Thursday video features Fraser’s 100 freestyle win in Tokyo on Oct. 13, 1964. How far we’ve come in the sport, from more innovative racing suits and caps, to the simple idea of wearing goggles to protect the eyes. And let’s not mention the much-improved start technique.