More than 70,000 fans in the National Olympic Stadium — and millions more watching on television — roared as Kokichi Tsuburaya ran on to the track, one lap from securing a silver medal at the 1964 Tokyo Games. The Japanese had not won a medal in track and field, and now Tsuburaya was about to make history.

Abebe Bikila, the Ethiopian who captured the gold medal in Rome in 1960 while running barefoot, finished 4 minutes earlier, setting a world record. As Bikila did calisthenics in the infield, Tsuburaya headed to the finish line looking exhausted and pained.

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