Wednesday, July 11, 2012

1940 Tokyo/Helsinki Summer Olympic Opening Ceremony

The Games of the XII Olympiad
Tokyo, Japan

Helsinki, Finland

Olympic Ceremony Records
italics indicate records at the time

  • Second Olympics to be Canceled (Tokyo: Sino-Japanese War, Helsinki: Russian Invasion of WWII)
  • First Planned Unrefueled Flight of the Olympic Torch (Berlin to Tokyo)
  • First Asia City to Win Election to Host the Olympic Games

Opening Ceremony
Tokyo Olympic Stadium (100,000)
Helsinki Olympic Stadium (70,000)

No Opening Ceremony

Official Report - Tokyo

Report - Helsinki

Opening Ceremony Highlights
The Olympic Games of 1940 were awarded originally to Tokyo.  Their report is present above.  They planned on a monumental stadium of 100,000 and the games were to mark the 2,600 anniversary of the founding of the Japanese Empire.  Interesting elements were discussed such as taking the Olympic Flame along the silk road with horses to distant Japan from Greece, but they did not want to traverse China because of the Sino-Japanese War.  Then it was discussed moving the flame by boat, but the Germans suggested to fly the flame non-stop to Japan - further symbolizing the mythical creation of the Japanese people descending from the heavens.  Another interesting problem was that the Emperor's voice could not be transmitted or amplified because of its sacredness - so he could not declare the games open during the ceremony.  These problems were never met, because Tokyo quickly lost its right to host the games.

At the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War, the games were taken away from Tokyo due to the many nations wishing to boycott.  The games were then awarded to Helsinki, Finland.  The Helsinki Games were to stage a 5,000km torch relay and the games were set to begin on July 20, 1940, but with the Russian Invasion of Finland and the Axis controlled areas during 1939 in WWII, the games were officially cancelled.  Much of the organization and stadia built by the Finnish government would help them win the host city election of 1952.

Poster of the 1940 Olympics in Helsinki

Poster of the 1940 Olympics in Tokyo

Poster of the 1940 Olympics in Tokyo

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