The eternal city staged a stylish Olympics against the classic backdrop of ancient Rome.
The incomparably graceful American sprinter Wilma Rudolph won three gold medals. Australia's Herb Elliott set a world record in the 1,500 metres, winning by a record margin of 2.8 seconds.
Abebe Bikila padded barefoot along the Appian Way to win the marathon and become the first of the great Ethiopian Olympic champions. American Raefer Johnson narrowly won a tremendous decathlon competition ahead of university team mate Chuan-Kwang Yang of Taiwan.
Paul Elvstrom won a fourth consecutive individual gold in dinghy sailing and Greece's Crown Prince Constantine won the Dragon class yachting. An extrovert young American called Cassius Clay, later to win enduring fame under his adopted Muslim name of Muhammad Ali, won the light-heavyweight boxing title.
At the finish of a memorable Games, the Soviet Union trumpeted the superiority of their system after winning 103 medals to the United States's 71.
** Rome, Italy which had missed hosting the 1908 Games, was the
home city of Emperor Theodosius who had ended the Ancient Games 1567 years
** The 1960 Games was the first to have worldwide
** The marathon event of the 1960
Games at Rome began at the Capitol Hill and finished on the Appian Way, near the
Arch of Constantine. This was the only occasion when the marathon event had not
started or ended in the main Olympic Stadium.
wrestling events of the 1960 Rome Games were held in Basilica of Maxentius, the
site of wrestling contests 2000 years earlier.
runner Wilma Rudolph who three gold medals in the sprints in the 1960 Games had
suffered from polio as a child.
** German Armin Hary became
the first-ever sprinter from a non-English-speaking country to win the men's
100m event during the 1960 Games, while Italian Livio Berruti became the first
non-North American to the 200m event. In the men's high jump Soviet Union's
Robert Shavlakadze became the first athlete from a non-English speaking country
to win a gold in this event.
** In the swimming event of
the 1960 Games Britain's Anita Lonsbrough in the 200m breaststroke was the only
one in the fifteen events to win a gold. Rest of the titles were won by either
by Australia or United States.
** In the 100m freestyle
swimming event in the 1960 Games American Lance Larson who was timed at
one-tenth faster than Australian John Devitt, was still placed second despite
the slow-motion film indicating that the former was first.
** Crown Prince Constantine (later King Constantine II of
Greece) won the second Royal gold medal in Olympic history when he claimed the
Dragon class yachting title in the 1960 Games.
** In the
Flying Dutchman class in the 1960 Games Norway's Peder Lunde Jr became the third
generation of his family to win a medal by equaling his grandfather's gold in
1924, but bettering his parent's silver in the 1952 Games.
** Denmark's Paul Elvstrom during the 1960 Games won his
fourth consecutive individual gold medal in dinghy sailing to become the first
sportsman in from any sport to achieve this distinction.
Ghana's Clement "Ike" Quartey, who won the silver in the light-welter category
in the boxing event of the 1960 Games became the first black African to win an
** Soviet gymnast Boris Shakhlin in 1960 won
seven medals (4 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze) then the most by any athlete in one
** Hungarian fencer Aladar Gerevich in 1960 at the
age of 50 years won his sixth team sabre gold medal in as many Games - a feat
unsurpassed by any other Olympic competitor.
** The 1960
light-heavyweight boxing title went to an American Cassius Clay, who became a
professional after the Games, and later, as Mohammad Ali became one of the
richest sportsman in history.
** Italian Sante Gaiardoni
became the only cyclist in Olympic history to win both the time trial and the
match sprint events during the 1960 Games. ** Britain's Don
Thompson won the 50km walk race of the 1960 Games by exercising in a bathroom
filled with heaters and boiling kettles to combat the Roman summer
** Australian Bill Roycroft suffering from a
concussion and a broken collarbone after a fall in the three-day equestrian
event in the 1960 Games, left his hospital bed to compete in the jumping test,
which ensured a gold medal for this country.
lost for the first time in the men's field hockey since 1928 when Pakistan beat
them 1-0 in the 1960 final. This defeat came after 30 consecutive victories and
six successive gold medals.
** Yugoslavia won its first
soccer gold medal in the 1960 Games after three successive silver medals.
** Danish cyclist Knut Jensen collapsed and died during the
1960 Games. Originally diagnosed due to excessive heat, but it was later
revealed as the result of drug overdose.