Ex-Pilots Reminisce about Drawing Olympic Rings in Sky in 1964

Society

Yokohama, Oct. 10 (Jiji Press)--With Thursday marking 55 years since the opening ceremony of the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, two former pilots from the Air Self-Defense Force's Blue Impulse aerobatic team have spoken about their experience drawing the Olympic rings in the sky with colored smoke at the event.

Former pilots Katsushige Nishimura, 83, and Tadashi Fujinawa, 82, still remember their preflight nerves.

"I was preoccupied with the feeling that failure was not allowed and that I had to show (the smoke rings) to the world, when I checked the aircraft before boarding," Nishimura told Jiji Press in a recent interview.

"I created a mental picture of how to draw the rings without failing while keeping a distance of 2 kilometers from the plane in front of me," Fujinawa said in the interview. "I prepared myself mentally before arriving at the airfield."

The aerobatic team timed their appearance in the sky above the former National Stadium in Tokyo in line with the request from the Olympic Games' organizing committee, despite the opening ceremony running late. As doves were released after the Olympic Oath, the team drew five rings in the Olympic colors of blue, yellow, black, green and red, each about 1,800 meters in diameter, at an altitude of some 3,000 meters.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press