World Athletics Championships decided to be held in Japan in 2025. It is the first time in 34 years that the National Stadium will be the stage. In 1991, 31 years ago, it was Carl Lewis who set the world record (at that time) of 9.86 seconds at the old national stadium.
The TVman who pioneered the sports broadcast poured his heart and soul, and the starter who knew the sprinter’s psychology rang the gun. The men who directed “the best stage ever” talk about the back side of the birth of the world record.
At the bottom right of the monitor, the alphabet meaning the world record was blinking.
“I got the money!”
The chief producer room of Nippon Television, which is in charge of broadcasting. Nobuhisa Sakata, who was in the camp there, spilled his true intentions.
August 25, 1991, past 7:00 pm. On the second day of the World Athletics Championships held at the National Stadium, in the men’s 100m final, Carl Lewis, then a world-class superstar, set a new world record of 9.86. It was also a historic moment when humankind first rushed into 9 seconds and 8 cars.
Sakata, who was at the top of the broadcasting team at the age of 50, recalls.
“I don’t remember saying that line, but it seems that I was witnessed by a great advertising agency next to me, and every time I met him, I was ridiculed.”
The best ever.
If maximizing the power of the athletes was a top priority in the race, it was a race that deserved to be called.
It is no exaggeration to say that the World Championships in Athletics in Tokyo was a luck for NTV. An article on Nikkan Sports looking back on those days stated that the funds and personnel that NTV had invested in for the tournament were
The fight for broadcasting rights at the Tokyo tournament was a one-on-one fight with Fuji TV, which had the most momentum at the time. As a result, the amount was much higher than expected. That is not all. The International Athletics Federation has imposed broadcasting obligations for a total of 19 competitions, large and small, sponsored by the Federation, as a condition for transferring broadcasting rights. Sakata looks back.
“It’s all a set. It includes world juniors. There is almost no merit in broadcasting such a thing. Of course, it was in the red.”
World Athletics started in 1983. Currently it is held every other year, but initially it was held every four years. In other words, the Tokyo tournament was still the third time, and the name recognition was low, and no one could measure how valuable the tournament was.
Nevertheless, Sakata was confident.