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Official poster of Tokyo
The anticipated 1940 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XII Olympiad and originally scheduled to be held from September 21 to October 6, 1940, in Tokyomarker, Japanmarker, were cancelled due to the outbreak of World War II. Tokyo was stripped of its host status for the Games by the IOCmarker after the renunciation by the Japanese of the IOC's Cairo Conference of 1938, due to the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War. The government of Japanmarker had abandoned its support for the 1940 Games in July 1938. The IOC then awarded the Games to Helsinkimarker, Finlandmarker, the runner-up in the original bidding process. The Games were then scheduled to be staged from July 20 to August 4, 1940. The Olympic Games were suspended indefinitely following the outbreak of World War II and did not resume until the Londonmarker Games of 1948.

With the Olympics cancelled, the major international athletics event of the year turned out to be the annual Finland-Sweden athletics international, held at the new Helsinki Olympic Stadiummarker, exceptionally held as a triple international among Finlandmarker, Swedenmarker and Germany.

Gliding was due to be an Olympic sport in the 1940 Games after a demonstration at the Berlin Games in 1936. The sport has not been featured in any Games since, though the glider designed for it, the DFS Olympia Meise was produced in large numbers after the war.

Helsinki eventually held the 1952 Summer Olympics and Tokyo the 1964 Summer Olympics.

Despite the cancellation of the 1940 Olympics, the Tokyo organizing committee released its budget for the Games. In a departure from standard practice, the budget included all capital outlays as well as direct organizing costs. The total budget was ¥20.1 million, one-third of which was paid for by the Tokyo metropolitan government.

During August 1940, prisoners of war celebrated a "special Olympics" called International Prisoner-of-War Olympic Games. These were inaugurated and celebrated in stalag number XIII-A in Langwasser close to Nuremberg, Germany. An Olympic flag 29 by 46 cm in size was made of a Polish prisoner’s shirt and, drawn in crayon, it featured the Olympic rings and banners for Belgium, France, Great Britain, Norway, Poland, Russia and Yugoslavia. A feature film was produced by the director A. Kotkowski in 1979 called Olimpiada 40 telling the story of these games and one of the prisoners of war, Teodor Niewiadomski.

See also


Further reading

  • International Journal of the History of Sport, vol. 24, 2007, No. 8, Special Issue: The Missing Olympics: The 1940 Tokyo Games, Japan, Asia and the Olympic Movement

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