Kalpana Kalpana (Editor)

1960 Summer Olympics

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Host city
Rome, Italy

150 in 17 sports

Closing ceremony
September 11

Nations participating

Opening ceremony
August 25

1960 Summer Olympics

Athletes participating
5,338 (4,727 men, 611 women)

The 1960 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XVII Olympiad (Italian: Giochi della XVII Olimpiade), was an international multi-sport event held from August 25 to September 11, 1960, in Rome, Italy. Rome had been awarded the organization of the 1908 Summer Olympics, but after the 1906 eruption of Mount Vesuvius, was forced to decline and pass the honors to London.


Host city selection

On June 15, 1955, at the 50th IOC Session in Paris, France, Rome beat out Lausanne, Detroit, Budapest (being the first city of the Eastern Bloc to bid for the Olympic Games), Brussels, Mexico City and Tokyo for the rights to host the Games. Tokyo and Mexico City would eventually host the following 1964 and 1968 Summer Olympics.

Toronto was initially interested in the bidding, but appears to have been dropped during the final bid process. This is the first of five attempts by Toronto from 1960 to 2001.


  • Swedish sprint canoeist Gert Fredriksson won his sixth Olympic title.
  • Fencer Aladár Gerevich of Hungary won his sixth consecutive gold medal in the team sabre event
  • The Japanese men's gymnastics team won the first of five successive golds, see 1976 Summer Olympics.
  • The United States men's national basketball team—led by future Basketball Hall of Famers Walt Bellamy, Jerry Lucas, Oscar Robertson and Jerry West—captured its fifth straight Olympic gold medal.
  • Danish sailor Paul Elvstrøm won his fourth straight gold medal in the Finn class. Others to emulate his performance in an individual event are Al Oerter, Carl Lewis, Michael Phelps, Kaori Icho and, if the Intercalated (Interspaced) Games of 1906 are included, Ray Ewry
  • German Armin Hary won the 100 metres in an Olympic record time of 10.2 seconds.
  • Wilma Rudolph, US, a former polio patient, won three gold medals in sprint events on the track. She was acclaimed as "the fastest woman in the world".
  • Jeff Farrell, US, won two gold medals in swimming. He underwent an emergency appendectomy six days before the Olympic Trials.
  • Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia won the marathon bare-footed to become the first black African Olympic champion.
  • Cassius Clay, US, later known as Muhammad Ali, won boxing's light-heavyweight gold medal. Ramon "Buddy" Carr was one of the coaches that led this team to winning gold.
  • Herb Elliott, AUS, won the men's 1500 meters in one of the most dominating performances in Olympic history.
  • Rafer Johnson, US, defeated his rival and friend C.K. Yang in one of the greatest Decathlon events in Olympic history.
  • The future Constantine II, last King of Greece (abdicated and ended hybrid monarchy, 1973) won his country a gold in sailing: dragon class.
  • The Pakistani Men's Field Hockey team broke a run of Indian team's victories since 1928, defeating India in the final and winning Pakistan's first Olympic gold medal.
  • Singapore competed for the first time under its own flag, which was to become its national flag after independence, as the British had granted it self-government a year earlier. Coincidentally, it was the first time (and only time until 2008) an athlete from Singapore won an Olympic medal when Tan Howe Liang won silver in the Weightlifting lightweight category.
  • Wrestlers Shelby Wilson, and Doug Blubaugh, US, won gold medals in their respective weight classes, who wrestled together growing up.
  • Anticlimaxes

  • South Africa appeared in the Olympic arena for the last time under its apartheid regime. It would not be allowed to return until 1992, after which apartheid in sport had been abolished.
  • Danish cyclist Knud Enemark Jensen collapsed during his race under the influence of Roniacol and later died in the hospital. It was the second time an athlete died in competition at the Olympics, after the death of Portuguese marathon runner Francisco Lázaro at the 1912 Summer Olympics.
  • Non-medal winners

  • Finnish Vilho Ylönen, a field shooter, shot a bullseye to a wrong target, in so doing dropping from second place to fourth.
  • Peter Camejo, a 2004 American vice-presidential candidate for the Green Party, competed in yachting for Venezuela.
  • The future Queen Sofía of Spain (consort to the Constitutional monarch) represented her native Greece in sailing events.
  • Broadcasting

  • CBS paid $394,000 ($3190000 in today's dollars) for the exclusive right to broadcast the Games in the United States. This was the first Summer Olympic games to be telecast in North America. In addition to CBS in the United States, the Olympics were telecast for the first time in Canada (on CBC Television) and in Mexico (through the networks of Telesistema Mexicano). Since television broadcast satellites were still two years into the future, CBS, CBC, and TSM shot and edited videotapes in Rome, fed the tapes to Paris where they were re-recorded onto other tapes which were then loaded onto jet planes to North America. Planes carrying the tapes landed at Idlewild Airport in New York City, where mobile units fed the tapes to CBS, to Toronto for the CBC, and to Mexico City for TSM. Despite this arrangement, many daytime events were broadcast in North America, especially on CBS and CBC, the same day they took place.
  • Venues

  • Olympic Stadium² (Stadio Olimpico) - opening/closing ceremonies, athletics, equestrian events
  • Flaminio Stadium¹ (Stadio Flaminio) - football finals
  • Swimming Stadium¹ - swimming, diving, water polo, modern pentathlon (swimming)
  • Sports Palace¹ (Palazzo dello sport) - basketball, boxing
  • Olympic Velodrome¹ - cycling (track), field hockey
  • Small Sports Palace¹ (Palazzetto dello Sport) - basketball, weightlifting
  • Marble Stadium² (Stadio dei Marmi) - field hockey preliminaries
  • Baths of Caracalla - gymnastics
  • Basilica of Maxentius - wrestling
  • Palazzo dei Congressi - fencing
  • Umberto I Shooting Range¹ - modern pentathlon (shooting), shooting (pistol/ rifle)
  • Roses Swimming Pool¹ (Piscina delle Rose) - water polo
  • Lake Albano, Castelgandolfo - rowing, canoeing
  • Piazza di Siena, Villa Borghese gardens - equestrian (dressage, eventing - jumping, jumping - individual)
  • Pratoni del Vivaro, Rocca di Papa - equestrian (eventing)
  • Gulf of Naples, Naples - yachting
  • Communal Stadium, Florence - football/soccer preliminaries
  • Communal Stadium, Grosseto - football/soccer preliminaries
  • Communal Stadium, L'Aquila - football/soccer preliminaries
  • Ardenza Stadium, Livorno - football/soccer preliminaries
  • Adriatico Stadium, Pescara - football/soccer preliminaries
  • Saint Paul's Stadium, Naples - football/soccer preliminaries
  • Campo Tre Fontane - field hockey preliminaries
  • Acqua Santa Golf Club Course - modern pentathlon (running)
  • Arch of Constantine - athletics (marathon finish)
  • Cesano Infantry School Range - shooting (300 m free rifle)
  • Lazio Pigeon Shooting Stand - shooting (trap shotgun)
  • Passo Corese - modern pentathlon (riding)
  • Grande Raccordo Anulare - athletics (marathon)
  • Via Appian Antica - athletics (marathon)
  • Via Cassia - cycling (individual road race)
  • Via Flaminia - cycling (individual road race)
  • Via Cristoforo Colombo - athletics (marathon), cycling (road team time trial)
  • Via di Grottarossa - cycling (individual road race)
  • ¹ New facilities constructed in preparation for the Olympic Games. ² Existing facilities modified or refurbished in preparation for the Olympic Games.

    Participating National Olympic Committees

    A total of 83 nations participated at the Rome Games. Athletes from Morocco, San Marino, Sudan, and Tunisia competed at the Olympic Games for the first time. Athletes from Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago would represent the new (British) West Indies Federation, competing as "Antilles", but this nation would only exist for this single Olympiad. Athletes from Northern Rhodesia and Southern Rhodesia competed under the Rhodesia name while representing the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Athletes from East Germany and West Germany would compete as the United Team of Germany from 1956 to 1964. The number in parentheses indicates the number of participants that each country contributed.

  •  Suriname also made its first Olympic appearance, but its lone athlete (Wim Esajas) withdrew from competition due to a scheduling error.
  • Sports

    The 1960 Summer Olympic programme featured 150 events in the following 17 sports:


    All dates are in Central European Time (UTC+1)

    Medal count

    These are the top ten nations that won medals at the 1960 Games:


    1960 Summer Olympics Wikipedia