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Athens 2004

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ROME 1960

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 before.

** The 1960 Games was the first to have worldwide television coverage.

** 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.

** The wrestling events of the 1960 Rome Games were held in Basilica of Maxentius, the site of wrestling contests 2000 years earlier.

** American 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 Olympic medal.

** Soviet gymnast Boris Shakhlin in 1960 won seven medals (4 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze) then the most by any athlete in one Games.

** 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 heat.

** 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.

** India 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.


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