|1960 Summer Olympic Games
A field of nearly 6,000 athletes from 83
nations took part in the games of the XVII
Olympiad at Rome, Italy, August 25-September 11,
1960. More than 2,000,000 spectators viewed the
18-sport competition, in which athletes broke 54
Olympic records and established 14 new world
The host country spent more than $100,000,000
on structures to house the games, most of which
remained as permanent additions to Rome's sports
facilities. Besides the huge Olympic stadium
itself, these included ten gymnasiums, five
swimming pools, and two all-weather sports
palaces. Some of Rome's ancient buildings were
also utilized -- gymnastics competitions were
held in the Baths of Caracalla, wrestling in the
4th-century Basilica of Maxentius, and field
hockey in Mussolini's Stadio dei Marmi.
President Giovanni Gronchi of Italy proclaimed
the games open on August 25. The Olympic oath was
taken for all athletes by Adolfo Consolini,
Italy's 1948 discus champion, who was competing
in his fifth Olympiad.
Parade of the teams in the
opening ceremonies of the XVII Summer Olympiad.
The United States won its fifth consecutive
Olympic title without losing a game, defeating
Brazil in the decisive game, 90-63. Stars of the
U.S. team were Oscar Robertson of the University
of Cincinnati, Jerry Lucas of Ohio State, Jerry
West of West Virginia, and Terry Dischinger of
Purdue. The U.S.S.R. came in second with a 78-70
defeat of Italy.
Light heavyweight Cassius Clay of the U.S. won
by decision over Zbigniew Pietrzykowski of
Poland, light middleweight Wilbert McClure of the
U.S. won by decision over Italian Carmelo Bossi,
and American middleweight Eddie Crook took a
disputed decision from Tadeusz Walasek of Poland.
Antonina Seredina (U.S.S.R.) won two gold
medals in the 500-meter women's kayak singles and
500-meter kayak doubles, teaming in the latter
with Maria Shubina. The U.S.S.R. also took the
gold medal in the 1,000-meter Canadian pairs,
with Leonid Geyshter and Sergi Mararenko.
The death of Danish cyclist Knud Enemark
Jensen in the team road race (of heatstroke on
August 26), the first fatality in modern Olympic
history, overshadowed the first of five Italian
victories. Sante Gaiardoni, Italy, won two gold
medals, setting an Olympic record of 1 minute
7.27 seconds in the 1,000-meter time trial and
also taking the 1,000-meter scratch race.
Australian Lawrence Morgan and Italian Raimond
d'Inzeo each won two gold medals, Morgan in the
individual and team three-day competition,
d'Inzeo in the jumping event and the Prix des
Nations. Hans Winkler and Fritz Thiedemann of the
1956 team and newcomer Alwin Schockemohle
retained team honors in the Prix des Nations for
Rudolph Karpati retained his individual title
to help Hungary win its seventh straight sabre
title. Italy won its third straight épée title,
but lost the men's foil title to the U.S.S.R.,
which also won the women's foil event.
After six consecutive Olympic titles, India
was upset by Pakistan, 1-0, in the final round.
Japan upset the Soviet Union for the men's
team title, but Soviet gymnasts did win a total
of ten gold medals. Boris Chakhlin won the men's
all-around and the parallel bars and tied for
first in two other events. Larisa Latynina
repeated as women's all-around champion and also
won the free-standing exercises.
Ferenc Nemeth broke the individual record with
5,024 points and, with Imre Nagy second, Hungary
established a team record with 14,863 points.
Second place went to the Soviet Union, third to
the United States.
A German eight-oar crew ended a Unitred States
string of victories going back to 1920 with a
winning time of 5 minutes 57.18 seconds.
William McMillan shot 587 out of 600 with the
rapid-fire pistol to win the only gold medal for
the United States. Alexei Gustchin of the
U.S.S.R. set a free pistol Olympic record with
560 out of 600 and Viktor Shamburkin gave the
U.S.S.R. another gold medal in the small-bore
A coin toss after a 2-2 semifinal tie put
Yugoslavia in the final round over Italy.
Yugoslavia then defeated Denmark, upset winner
over Hungary, for its first ever Olympic soccer
All 15 events saw new Olympic records set and
six new world records were set. All but one of
the new world records were set by United States
swimmers, with Anita Lonsbrough of the United
Kingdom's record time of 2 minutes 49.5 seconds
in the 200-meter breast stroke being the
Three Australians successfully defended their
1956 Olympic titles: Dawn Fraser defeated Chris
von Saltza of the United States in the women's
100-meter free style in 1 minute 1.2 seconds;
Murray Rose won the men's 400-meter free style in
4 minutes 18.3 seconds; and David Theile won the
100-meter backstroke in 1 minute 1.9 seconds.
Australian men completed their sweep of the
individual free style events with John Devitt's
controversial dfeat of American Lance Larson in
the 100-meter in 55.2 seconds and Jon Konrads'
defeat of teammate Murray Rose in the 1,500-meter
in 17 minutes 19.6 seconds.
American male swimmers set three new world
records: Mike Troy in the 200-meter butterfly at
2 minutes 12.8 seconds; the team of George
Harrison, Dick Blick, Mike Troy, and Jeff Farrell
in the 800-meter free style relay at 8 minutes
10.2 seconds; and the team of Frank McKinney,
Paul Hait, Lance Larson, and Jeff Farrell in the
400-meter medley relay at 4 minutes 5.4 seconds.
The United States women's team was
led by Chris von Saltza, who won the 400-meter
free style over Jane Cederqvist of Sweden in 4
minutes 50.6 seconds and anchored two world
record relay teams. Joan Spillane, Shirley Stobs,
and Carolyn Wood joined her on the 400-meter free
style relay team, which set a new world record of
4 minutes 8.9 seconds. Lynn Burke, Patty Kempner,
and Carolyn Schuler were her teammates for the
400-meter medley relay, in which they set a new
world record of 4 minutes 41.1 seconds. Burke and
Schuler were also individual gold medalists, with
a 100-meter backstroke of 1 minute 9.3 seconds
and 100-meter butterfly of 1 minute 9.5 seconds,
Right: Chris von Saltza, winner of the
gold medal in the women's 400-meter free-style
and a member of the victorious medley and
The United States lost the women's 3-meter and
10-meter platform diving events for the first
time as Ingrid Kramer of Germany defeated Paula
Jean Pope in both events. The women's losses were
offset somewhat by Gary Tobian becoming the ninth
consecutive American to win the men's springboard
dive and Bob Webster regaining the platform
title, which had been won by Juan Capilla Pérez
of Mexico in 1956.
Track and Field, Men
One of the
greatest groups of track and field athletes ever
assembled broke 3 world records, tied 2 others,
smashed 19 Olympic records, and tied 1. Two of
the world records fell within 15 minutes on
September 6: American Otis Davis edged Carl
Kaufmann of Germany in the 400-meter with a time
of 44.9 seconds (Kaufmann was credited with the
same time) and Herb Elliott of Australia beat his
own 1,500-meter record with a time of 3 minutes
35.6 seconds and won the event by a 20-yard
margin. The same day saw American Rafer Johnson
defeat C.K. Yang of Formosa in the decathlon,
8,392 points to 8,334 points. The third world
record was broken when the United States team of
Jack Yerman, Earl Young, Glenn Davis, and Otis
Davis defeated Germany in the 1,600-meter relay
by a margin of three yards in 3 minutes 2.2
Left: Rafer Johnson putting the shot in
the decathlon, which he won with a total of 8,392
points, an Olympic record.
Livio Berruti of Italy won the 200-meter in
20.5 seconds to equal the world record for that
event. The German team of Bernd Cullman, Armin
Hary, Walter Mahlendorf, and Martin Lauer equaled
the world record of 39.5 seconds for the
John Thomas of the U.S., holder of the world's
high jump record, came in third with a leap of 7
feet 1/4 inches. Soviet athletes Robert
Shavlakadze and Valery Beumel both cleared 7 feet
1-1/16 inches to set a new Olympic record;
Shavlakadze was awarded the gold medal because of
athletes who won gold medals at the 1956 Olympics
retained their crowns, and all three led U.S.
sweeps of the first three places in their events.
Glenn Davis broke his own Olympic record for the
400-meter hurdles with a time of 49.3 seconds;
Cliff Cushman and Dick Howard placed second and
third, respectively. Al Oerter raised his discus
record to 194 feet 1-7/8 inches, with Rink Babka
and Dick Cochran taking the silver and bronze.
Lee Calhoun's time of 13.8 seconds failed to
match his record for the 110-meter hurdles (13.5
seconds) but was good enough to beat Wille May
and Hayes Jones, the latter narrowly beating
Martin Lauer of Germany. William Nieder of the
United States thwarted teammate Parry O'Brien's
bid for a third straight shot-put title with his
Olympic record toss of 64 feet 6-13/16 inches;
O'Brien ended up with a silver medal and another
teammate, Dallas Long, got the bronze. Two other
American gold medalists also set new Olympic
marks: Don Bragg, with a pole vault of 15 feet
5-1/16 inches; and Ralph Boston, with a broad
jump of 26 feet 7-11/16 inches.
Right: Don Bragg practicing the pole vault
before the games opened. He went on to win the
gold medal with a vault of 15 feet 5-1/16 inches,
an Olympic record.
A hammer throw
of 220 feet 2-11/16 inches by Vasily Rudenkov of
the Soviet Union set a new Olympic record.
Another Olympic record was set by Peter Snell of
New Zealand, who narrowly defeated Roger Moens of
Belgium in the 800-meter with a time of 1 minute
46.3 seconds. Armin Hary of Germany won the
100-meter in an Olympic record 10.2 seconds in a
photo finish with Dave Sime of the United States.
Left: Peter Snell touching the tape at the
finish line just ahead of Roger Moens to win the
800-meter race in the time of 1 minute 46.3
Track and Field, Women
Wilma Rudolph of
the United States earned individual gold medals
in the 100- and 200-meter races and was part of
the gold medal-winning 400-meter relay team.
Although her time of 11 seconds in the 100-meter
broke the world record, she was denied that
record because officials determined that she had
been aided by excessive following winds. She did
set a new Olympic record of 23.2 seconds in the
200-meter and, with Martha Hudson, Lucinda
Williams, and Barbara Jones, set a new world
record of 44.4 seconds in the 400-meter relay
trials; the relay team won the final in 44.5
Left: Wilma Rudolph winning the women's
100-meter sprint. She also won the 200-meter race
and anchored the victorious 400-meter relay team.
All but one of
the other events were won by athletes from the
U.S.S.R., four of whom also set new Olympic
records: Vera Krepkina, with a broad jump of 20
feet 10-13/14 inches; Tamara Press, with a
shot-put of 56 feet 9-7/8 inches; Nina
Ponomareva, with a discus throw of 180 feet 9-1/4
inces; and Elvira Ozolina, with a javelin throw
of 183 feet 7-13/16 inches. Ludmila Shevcova tied
the 800-meter world record of 2 minutes 4.3
seconds. The lone exception was Yolanda Balas of
Romania, who won the high jump with an Olympic
record leap of 6 feet 13/16 inches. Irina Press
of the U.S.S.R., who won the 80-meter hurdles in
10.8 seconds, was the only other gold medalist to
not break or tie a record in women's track and
Right: Irina Press jumping a hurdle in the
semi-finals of the 80-meter race. She won the
final event in 10.8 seconds.
The Italians regained the title they last won
in 1948, while the Soviet Union came in second
and defending champion Hungary finished third.
The U.S.S.R. won five of the seven gold medals
and broke four world records. The records were
broken by lightweight Viktor Bushuev, 876 pounds;
middleweight Alexander Kurynov, 964.5 pounds;
middle heavyweight Arkadi Vorobiev, 1,039.5
pounds; and heavyweight Yuri Vlasov, 1,184.5
pounds. Featherweight Yevgeni Minaev tied the
world record with a lift of 821 pounds. The
non-Soviet winners were light heavyweight
Ireneusz Palinski of Poland with a lift of 975.5
pounds and bantamweight Charles Vinci of the
United States with a world record-tying lift of
Turkey won seven gold medals,
four in free style and three in Greco-Roman. The
United States surprised many by taking three
free-style golds with Terry McCann, Shelby
Wilson, and Doug Blubaugh.
Left: Terry McCann, winner of bantamweight
free-style wrestling, in a match with T.
Trojanowski of Poland.
Crown Prince Constantine of Greece led a crew
in the Dragon class that scored his nation's only
Olympic victory. Five nations divided honors in
the races held on Naples Bay with American George
O'Day winning the 5.5-meter class.
Britannica Book of the Year
Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 1961
International Olympic Committee http://www.olympic.org/rome-1960-summer-olympics
Questions or comments about