In a 1987 interview with the Konami Development Staff published in the "TV Game: denshi yuugi taizen" book, they stated that they were influenced by the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics held in 1983, and said to each other "yeah! let’s make a sports game like this!" as there was no track and field style athletic event game at the time. The team also wanted to see if they could make a game that wasn't Human vs. CPU, but rather Human vs. Human, instead.
Contributed by ProtoSnake