TOKYO – A Japanese national hero who accurately drew the Olympic rings in the sky to mark the start of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics said today’s heroes are medical workers battling the coronavirus pandemic.
As a member of the Japanese Air Force Aerobatic Demonstration Squadron, Blue Impulse, Katsushige Nishimura and four others drew the symbol of the Games in a clear autumn sky nearly six decades ago.
For many in Japan, that was one of the most memorable moments of the sporting event held to show the world the country’s recovery from the ashes of World War II.
The government plans to have Blue Impulse fly again on the opening day of this year’s Summer Games and draw the rings over the capital. The Tokyo Olympics, postponed for a year due to the pandemic, are scheduled to begin on July 23.
“First of all, I would like to encourage and show our appreciation for the medical workers,” Nishimura, 84, told Reuters. “It is great that athletes participate in the Games remembering that they can compete thanks to these medical workers.”
He recalled how on exercise flights leading up to the 1964 Olympics, he and his fellow Blue Impulse pilots struggled to draw satisfying rings.
“It was especially a disaster at first. We could not form perfect circles, some circles were larger than others and the five rings were not intertwined, ”said Nishimura.
That fight, he said, made the opening ceremony success even more delicious.
“I got my plane higher (after drawing the circle) and I saw people in the national stadium looking up. I saw them through the same rings that we just created. That was a moving moment, ”Nishimura said.
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