Thursday, August 25 - Sunday, September 11, 1960: Summer Olympics

The Games of the XVII Olympiad take place in Rome, Italy. More than 5,000 athletes from 83 countries are competing in 150 events. The official emblem depicts a Roman she-wolf, nursing Romulus and Remus. (Legend has it that the twins founded the city of Rome.)
-- Emblem: @

* Sunday, September 11: Games conclude. The final medal count: Russia 103, United States 71, Germany 42.
-- Medals by country: @

* Saturday, September 10: Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia wins the marathon -- running barefoot. He is the first black African to win a gold medal.
-- Footage from Olympic.org: @
-- Footage in Italian (two parts): @ and

* Wednesday, September 7:
Don Bragg of the United States wins gold in the pole vault. His nickname is "Tarzan"; he lets loose with a Tarzan yell from the victory podium and hopes to play the jungle man in the movies (as Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller had before him).
-- Life magazine photo spread: @
-- 2003 article: @
-- Excerpts from "A Chance to Dare: The Don Bragg Story" (book):

* Tuesday, September 6:
The battle for the decathlon gold -- between Rafer Johnson of the United States and C.K. Yang of Taiwan -- comes down to the 10th of 10 events, the 1,500-meter race. Johnson has the overall lead, though Yang has won 6 of the previous 9 events. To win the gold, Yang will have to defeat Johnson by more than 10 seconds. He doesn't, as Johnson stays close to Yang throughout the race. (A footnote: Johnson and Yang were close friends, having trained together as teammates at UCLA. The photo above was taken just after the 1,500 meters.)
-- Sports Illustrated story: @
-- Footage of decathlon: @

* Monday, September 5: Cassius Clay, an 18-year-old from Louisville, Kentucky, wins the gold medal in boxing (light heavyweight division). He turns professional after the Games and would have his first pro fight in October.
-- Footage of finals (2 parts): @ and

* Saturday, September 3: Klaus Zerta of Germany wins a gold medal in rowing (he is the coxswain in men's coxed pairs). Zerta is 13 years and 283 days old, making him the youngest male gold medalist ever.

* Friday, September 2: Wilma Rudolph wins the 100 meters, the first of her 3 gold medals (the others being in the 200 meters and the 4 x 100 relay). Born the 20th of 22 children in St. Bethlehem, Tennessee, she contracted polio as a child and wore a leg brace for several years. Her high school nickname was "Skeeter," but her dazzling Olympic performance would earn her the names "La Gazella Negra" ("The Black Gazelle") in Italy and "La Perle Noire" ("The Black Pearl") in France.
-- More about Rudolph: @ and @ (video) and @ (1994 obituary)
-- Photos and video from Olympic.org : @
-- "Wilma Rudolph and the TSU Tigerbelles": @
-- Time magazine article (September 19, 1960): @
-- Rudolph on "To Tell the Truth":

* Thursday, September 1: U.S. swimmer Jeff Farrell wins two gold medals, in the 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 relays. His victories were especially noteworthy because he had competed in the U.S. trials in early August just six days after undergoing an emergency appendectomy.
-- More about Farrell: @

* August 30-31:
On August 30, East Germany restricted travel between East and West Berlin. On August 31, South Africa lifted the state of emergency that had followed the Sharpesville massacre (see entries of March 21 and April 8-9). While the Games were relatively free of politics, several issues were simmering just below the surface:
-- The Berlin Wall was just a year away. Despite their political differences, the two Germanys competed as one team, under orders from the International Olympic Committee. (More about East Germany's August 30 action: @)
-- These Games would be the last in which South Africa would compete until 1992, because of the country's apartheid government.

-- As in 1956, mainland China did not compete, in protest of Taiwan being allowed to take part. In 1960, Taiwan wanted to be designated the Republic of China at the Games. When the IOC would not allow it, the Taiwanese delegation walked in the Parade of Nations behind a sign that read "Under Protest." (Taiwan timeline: @; photo of Taiwan delegation in 1956 Olympics: @)

* August 26:
On a blisteringly hot day, during a time trial in the 100-kilometer team event, Danish cyclist Knud Enemark Jensen, 23, falls and fractures his skull. He dies the same day. It's later revealed that he had stimulants in his system. His death would lead the International Olympic Committee to ban performance-enhancing substances and institute drug testing for the 1968 Games.
-- Photos from race: @
-- "Doping in Elite Sport: The Politics of Drugs in the Olympic Movement" (book): @
-- "Dope: A History of Performance Enhancement in Sports from the Nineteenth Century to Today" (book): @

* August 26: CBS begins its television coverage. For viewers in the United States, the Games were tape-delayed -- literally. Footage of the events was flown daily from Rome to New York. The 5-hour difference between the cities meant the footage could arrive in time for Jim McKay (then working for CBS) to host same-day, late-night highlights from New York.
-- TV/radio listings for August 26 (Poughkeepsie Journal): @

* August 25:
Opening ceremonies at Olympic Stadium. Rafer Johnson, who will compete in the decathlon, is the first African-American to carry the flag for the United States during the Parade of Nations.
-- Footage of opening ceremonies: @
-- Route of Olympic torch: @

* August 24:
The day before the games begin, Pope XXIII blesses the assembled athletes in St. Peter's Square.
-- Text of "A Sound Mind in a Sound Body" (papal address, in Latin -- still trying to find an English-language version): @

* Sports Illustrated preview: @
* "Rome 1960" (from Olympic.org): @
* Medalists: @
* Daily events (click on "choose the day"): @
* The Official Report of the Organizing Committee: @
* Olympic Games Museum: @
* "Rome 1960: The Olympics That Changed the World" (book): @

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