Host City: Tokyo, Japan
Venue(s): Kokuritsu Yoyogi Kyogijo, Shibuya, Tokyo
Date Started: October 12, 1964
Date Finished: October 14, 1964
This was the first time that an individual medley race was included on the Olympic Program, and both men and women contested the IM over 400 metres. The favorite was the United Statesâ [Dick Roth], who had set the world record of 4:48.6, the first time under 4:50, at a meet in Los Altos, California in late July 1964. Unfortunately, Roth was stricken by an attack of appendicitis shortly after arriving in Tokyo. The Japanese doctors who attended him recommended surgery, but Roth refused, and simply had his abdomen packed in ice for many hours at a time to help control the pain. By the time of his event, the pain had subsided somewhat and he never underwent an appendectomy. Instead he won a gold medal in the new event, bettering his own world record with 4:45.4. He never held the lead until the final freestyle leg, as his teammates [Carl Robie] and [Roy Saari], led on the other strokes, with Saari a body length ahead of Roth at 300 metres. As Roth swam the fastest freestyle leg, Saari held on for the silver medal, with Germanyâs [Gerhard Hetz] nipping Robie for bronze.