Rome 1960 Summer Olympic Games

[Translate to English:] Poletne olimpijske igre Rim 1960

The twins Romulus and Remus and their she-wolf welcomed the best athletes of the world into the holy city in 1960. Rome finally got its long awaited Olympics, first scheduled as early as 1908.


Time and Place: Rome (Italy); 25 August – 11 September 1960
Other candidates: Detroit, Mexico City, Brussels, Tokio, Budapest and Lausanne
Participation: 83 countries, 5338 athletes
Number of sports: 17 sports, 150 events

Number of Slovenian athletes: 27
Fire lit by: Giancarlo Peris (track and field athlete)
Games opened by: Giovanni Gronchi (President of Italy)
Olympic oath: Adolfo Consolini (track and field)


Trivia from the Rome 1960 Summer Olympic Games

Modern sports facilities, the remarkable city and its rich history, an intertwining of culture and sports, supreme achievements, numerous heroes and interesting competition marked the Olympic Games in Rome. The International Olympic Committee awarded the organization of the Games to Rome in 1908, but upon finding that the Italians have not even begun preparations, the fourth Olympic Games were held in London. In 1960, the Italians remedied their mistake and organized Olympics which skillfully built a bridge between the past and the sports-infused present.

Before the games, most of the athletes were blessed in Vatican by pope John XII. The competition benefitted from a good television coverage which brought the games into homes around the world. Many spectators saw the games live, the best venue being the modern stadium which had room for 100,000 sports hungry fans.


Olympic heights


The great Soviet-American battle was won by the former for the second time in a row. The Soviets celebrated 42 wins in Rome, eight more than their American competitors.  Both of most eager collectors of precious metal came from the Soviet Union.

Gymnast Boris Shakhlin won four gold medals, two silvers and a bronze. His female compatriot - also a gymnast - ended with a similar set of medals with only one Olympic title less. Heroes of the Games included the African American gazelle Wilma Rudolph who won three medals in track and field, Japanese gymnast Takashi Ono and barefoot Ethiopian marathon runner Abebe Bikila. A gold medal was won by American boxer Cassius Clay, better known as Muhammad Ali. The legendary boxer later developed Parkinson's disease and returned to his Olympic glory at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics where he lit the Olympic fire.

Slovenians and the 1960 Summer Olympics

Yugoslavia was represented at the Roman Olympics by a contingent of 117 athletes, 27 of whom were Slovenian (including 5 women). Legendary gymnast Miro Cerar began his Olympic career in Rome, going on to win a total of 30 medals at the Olympics, world and European championships. Cerar did not win a medal in Italy, but he made his mark on the competition with a fifth place in the high bar and an eighth place in the all-around competition. An eighth place was also won by sailors Janko Kosmina and Marko Fafangel from Koper.


Further top ten results were achieved by track and field athlete Mirko kolnik with a 9th place in the combined competition and cyclist Janez Žirovnik with an 8th place in the road race.

The Yugoslavian basketball team at the Olympics in Rome had a strong Slovenian component with Ivo Daneu, Boris Kristančič, Miha Lokar and Marjan Kandus in the ranks. Yugoslavia, led by legendary  coach Aleksander Nikolić achieved sixth place in Rome.