FEED Autumn 2021 Newsletter


The 1964 Tokyo Olympics featured even more media magic than this year’s version

he Olympic Games have always been a wonderful opportunity to showcase what broadcast can do. At Tokyo 2020, Olympic Broadcasting


Services (OBS) pulled off amazing feats – putting on one of the world’s most complex events in the middle of a pandemic, alongside rights holders broadcasting remotely to an unprecedented degree. But this pales in comparison to the media achievements of 1964 – the last time the Olympics was hosted in Tokyo. Held in October, the sporting extravaganza was a first for Asia (Japan had been scheduled to host the 1940 Games, but it was decided the country’s 1937 invasion of China wasn’t in the Olympic spirit). It was also the first Olympics to be broadcast live around the world. Previous live footage had been restricted to national or continental level. The 1956 Winter Games were the first broadcast internationally

A PLACE IN HISTORY Watch this raw AP footage (without sound) of the Syncom 3 launch from Cape Canaveral

across several west-European countries, relayed via the Eurovision network. But most ‘near live’ broadcasting involved flying tapes transferred at the site overnight – ready for broadcast the next day. Tokyo 1964 transmitted live coverage to the Hughes Corporation’s Syncom 3 – the world’s first geostationary communications satellite – which was then picked up by the European Relay 1 satellite. Syncom (synchronous communication satellite) started as a 1961 Nasa programme, in partnership with Hughes Aircraft Company. Syncom 3 was launched in August 1964, two months before the Games, on a Delta D rocket from pad 17A at Cape Canaveral. The live Olympics coverage had been part of Syncom’s mission plan

Download Nasa’s 1965 final summary and evaluation on the Syncom missions here: ntrs.nasa.gov/ citations/19650020199

Last Olympics that West Germany and East Germany competed at as a United Team


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