1960 Summer Olympics

1960 Summer Olympics
Games of the XVII Olympiad
Olympic logo 1960.png
Host city Rome, Italy
Nations participating 83
Athletes participating 5,338
(4,727 men, 611 women)
Events 150 in 17 sports
Opening ceremony August 25
Closing ceremony September 11
Officially opened by President Giovanni Gronchi
Athlete's Oath Adolfo Consolini
Olympic Torch Giancarlo Peris
Stadium Stadio Olimpico

The 1960 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XVII Olympiad, 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.[1]

1960 Summer Olympics bidding results[2]
City Country Round 1 Round 2 Round 3
Rome  Italy 15 26 35
Lausanne  Switzerland 14 21 24
Detroit  United States 6 11
Budapest  Hungary 8 1
Brussels  Belgium 6
Mexico City  Mexico 6
Tokyo  Japan 4


  • Soviet gymnasts won 15 of 16 possible medals in women's gymnastics
  • Danish sailer Paul Elvstrøm won his fourth straight gold medal in the Finn class. The only others to emulate his performance in an individual event are Al Oerter, Carl Lewis and, if the Intercalated Games of 1906 are included, Ray Ewry.
  • Finnish Vilho Ylönen, a field shooter, shot a bullseye to a wrong target and was dropped from the second place to fourth.
  • The future Constantine II, King of Greece, won his country a gold in sailing Dragon Class.
  • Fencer Aladár Gerevich of Hungary won his sixth consecutive gold medal in the team sabre event (1932–1936, 1948–1960).
  • Wilma Rudolph, a former polio patient, won three gold medals in sprint events on the track. She was acclaimed as "the fastest woman in the world".
  • Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia won the marathon bare-footed to become the first black African Olympic champion.
  • Cassius Clay, later known as Muhammad Ali, won boxing's light-heavyweight gold medal.
  • Ramon "Buddy" Carr was one of the boxing coaches that led this team to winning gold.
  • The Japanese men's gymnastics team won the first of five successive golds, the last of which was won in 1976, in Montreal.
  • 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 the abandonment of apartheid and during the transition to majority rule.
  • 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.
  • Swedish canoer Gert Fredriksson won his sixth Olympic title.
  • 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.[3]
  • Australian athlete Herb Elliott won the men's 1500 meters in one of the most dominating performances in Olympic history.
  • American athlete Rafer Johnson defeated his rival and friend C.K. Yang in one of the greatest decathlon events in Olympic history.
  • Peter Camejo, a 2004 American vice-presidential candidate for the Green Party, competed in yachting for Venezuela.
  • Armin Hary won the 100 metres in an Olympic record time of 10.2 seconds.
  • Pakistan broke India's dominance in Olympic Men's Field Hockey by becoming the first team in history to beat India in Olympic Field Hockey since 1928 and winning its first ever Olympic gold medal in the process. India had already won 6 previous hockey golds in the Summer Olympics.
  • The future Sofía of Spain represented Greece in sailing events.
  • Jeff Farrell of the United States won two gold medals in swimming after undergoing an emergency appendectomy six days before the Olympic Trials.[4]
  • 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.
  • American wrestlers Shelby Wilson, and Doug Blubaugh both won gold medals in their respective weight classes. Both men were raised in the town of Ponca City, Oklahoma and wrestled together through high school and college.
  • CBS paid $394,000 for the right to broadcast the Games in the United States.[5]


¹ New facilities constructed in preparation for the Olympic Games. ² Existing facilities modified or refurbished in preparation for the Olympic Games.

Events and medals awarded

See for individual sports and for medal winners, ordered by sport:

Participating nations

Number of athletes per country

A total of 84 nations participated at the Rome Games. Athletes from Morocco, San Marino, Sudan, and Tunisia competed at the Olympic Games for the first time. Suriname also made its first Olympic appearance, but its lone athlete withdrew from competition, leaving a total of 83 nations that actually competed. 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 East Germany and West Germany would compete as the United Team of Germany from 1956-1964. The number in parentheses indicates the number of participants that each country contributed.

Medal count

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

 Rank  Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Soviet Union 43 29 31 103
2 United States 34 21 16 71
3 Italy 13 10 13 36
4 Germany 12 19 11 42
5 Australia 8 8 6
6 Turkey 7 2 0 9
7 Hungary 6 8 7 21
8 Japan 4 7 7 18
9 Poland 4 6 11 21
10 Czechoslovakia 3 2 3 8'Bold text

See also

Olympic Rings.svg Olympics portal



External links

Preceded by
Summer Olympic Games

XVII Olympiad (1960)
Succeeded by

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