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Athletics at the 1960 Roma Summer Games

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Host City: Roma, Italy
Date Started: August 31, 1960
Date Finished: September 8, 1960
Events: 34

Participants: 1,016 (812 men and 204 women) from 72 countries
Youngest Participant: CAN Valerie Jerome (16 years, 127 days)
Oldest Participant: ARG Guillermo Weller (47 years, 127 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): USA Wilma Rudolph (3 medals)
Most Medals (Country): USA United States (26 medals)


Roma was chosen to host the 1960 Olympic Games, and combined new, glittering facilities with some sports held in sites preserved from Ancient Roma. The athletics competition was noteworthy for several outstanding stars, the coming-out of African distance runners, and the failure of the United States in several events in which they were favored. The athletics star of the Games was likely the American female [Wilma Rudolph], who won the 100, 200 and anchored the US 4x100 relay team to a gold medal. Tall, lithe, and beautiful, she was heralded in the European press as “La Gazelle Noir.” The decathlon saw perhaps it greatest ever competition with [Rafer Johnson] outlasting his UCLA teammate and roommate, [C. K. Yang] from Taiwan, as they finished late in the cool Roman night. During the Olympics, Rudolph began a romance with American sprinter [Ray Norton], who was favored to win the 100 and 200 metres. But Norton was emblematic of American troubles on the Roma track. He finished last in the finals of both races, and then ran out of the exchange zone in the final of the 400 relay, causing the American team to be disqualified. Early in the Games, the heaviest of American favorites, high jumper [John Thomas], also had difficulty. He was beaten by Soviets [Robert’ Shavlaq’adze] and [Valery Brumel], and earned “only” a bronze medal. The 1960 marathon was unique as the only Olympic marathon that neither started nor ended in the Olympic Stadium. It started later in the afternoon, to protect the runners from the warm Italian weather. It was won by the Ethiopian [Abebe Bikila], who ran barefoot, and finished in the night, the route lit by soldiers holding torches, beneath the Arch of Constantine. Bikila would return to win the marathon again in 1964 and he was the first of the dominant African distance runners, and some consider him the greatest ever marathoner.


Event Gold Silver Bronze
Men's 100 metres GER Armin Hary USA Dave Sime GBR Peter Radford
Men's 200 metres ITA Livio Berruti USA Les Carney FRA Abdou Sèye
Men's 400 metres USA Otis Davis GER Carl Kaufmann RSA Malcolm Spence
Men's 800 metres NZL Peter Snell BEL Roger Moens WIF George Kerr
Men's 1,500 metres AUS Herb Elliott FRA Michel Jazy HUN István Rózsavölgyi
Men's 5,000 metres NZL Murray Halberg GER Hans Grodotzki POL Kazimierz Zimny
Men's 10,000 metres URS Pyotr Bolotnikov GER Hans Grodotzki AUS Dave Power
Men's Marathon ETH Abebe Bikila MAR Rhadi Ben Abdesselam NZL Barry Magee
Men's 110 metres Hurdles USA Lee Calhoun USA Willie May USA Hayes Jones
Men's 400 metres Hurdles USA Glenn Davis USA Cliff Cushman USA Dick Howard
Men's 3,000 metres Steeplechase POL Zdzisław Krzyszkowiak URS Nikolay Sokolov URS Semyon Rzhishchin
Men's 4 × 100 metres Relay GER Germany URS Soviet Union GBR Great Britain
Men's 4 × 400 metres Relay USA United States GER Germany WIF West Indies Federation
Men's 20 kilometres Walk URS Volodymyr Holubnychiy AUS Noel Freeman GBR Stan Vickers
Men's 50 kilometres Walk GBR Don Thompson SWE John Ljunggren ITA Abdon Pamich
Men's High Jump URS Robert' Shavlaq'adze URS Valery Brumel USA John Thomas
Men's Pole Vault USA Don Bragg USA Ron Morris FIN Eeles Landström
Men's Long Jump USA Ralph Boston USA Bo Roberson URS Igor Ter-Ovanesyan
Men's Triple Jump POL Józef Szmidt URS Vladimir Goryayev URS Vitold Kreyer
Men's Shot Put USA Bill Nieder USA Parry O'Brien USA Dallas Long
Men's Discus Throw USA Al Oerter USA Rink Babka USA Dick Cochran
Men's Hammer Throw URS Vasily Rudenkov HUN Gyula Zsivótzky POL Tadeusz Rut
Men's Javelin Throw URS Viktor Tsybulenko GER Walter Krüger HUN Gergely Kulcsár
Men's Decathlon USA Rafer Johnson TPE Yang C. K. URS Vasily Kuznetsov
Women's 100 metres USA Wilma Rudolph GBR Dorothy Hyman ITA Giuseppina Leone
Women's 200 metres USA Wilma Rudolph GER Jutta Heine GBR Dorothy Hyman
Women's 800 metres URS Liudmyla Lysenko AUS Brenda Jones GER Ulla Donath
Women's 80 metres Hurdles URS Irina Press GBR Carole Quinton GER Gisela Köhler-Birkemeyer
Women's 4 × 100 metres Relay USA United States GER Germany POL Poland
Women's High Jump ROU Iolanda Balaș GBR Dorothy Shirley
POL Jarosława Jóźwiakowska-Bieda
Women's Long Jump URS Vira Kalashnykova-Krepkina POL Elżbieta Krzesińska-Duńska GER Hildrun Laufer-Claus
Women's Shot Put URS Tamara Press GER Johanna Hübner-Lüttge USA Earlene Brown
Women's Discus Throw URS Nina Romashkova-Ponomaryova URS Tamara Press ROU Lia Manoliu
Women's Javelin Throw URS ElvÄ«ra Ozoliņa TCH Dana Ingrová-Zátopková URS Birutė Kalėdienė