POSTED: August 24th 2010

Rome celebrates 50th anniversary of hosting the 1960 Olympic Games

Foro Italico home of the Italian National Olympic Committee  / lake images
Foro Italico home of the Italian National Olympic Committee / lake images

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

TAMPA/ROME, Aug 24: The Olympic spirit is alive and well in the Eternal City as Rome celebrates the 50 year anniversary celebration [Wednesday] for the 1960 Games and looks excitedly ahead to the new 2020 bid.

The ceremony which will be rich with memories of yesterday and dreams for tomorrow will set the stage for Rome as a “world capital for sport”.

Tomorrow at the Piazza del Campidoglio there will be a ceremony including Gianni Alemanno, mayor of Rome, Alessandro Cochi, delegated for sport by the mayor of Rome, Gianni Petrucci, president of the Italian National Olympic Committee, Franco Carraro, head of the committee for the Rome '60 celebrations and IOC member, Mario Pescante, IOC vice-president, e Luca Pancalli, Italian Paralympic Committee president.

The committee is planning many cameo appearances such as Nino Benvenuti who won the gold in boxing for Italy and USA pole vaulting champion Don Bragg. Giancarlo Peris, who carried the torch in the ’60 Games will light a cauldron.

Romolo Marcellini's film-documentary 'La grande Olimpiade' the official film of the XVII Olympics will be shown. The poignant film was also nominated for an Oscar.  These Games were the first televised Games and took the Olympics to a whole new level.

In 1996 American rights holder NBC filmed a documentary the “Wonders of Rome” about the Games that won a Sports Emmy for Program Achievement and an International Film & Video Festival Gold Camera Award for Best Documentary.

In the festivities tomorrow night a plaque will be unveiled near the Arch of Constantine which became famous world wide as barefoot Ethiopian runner Abebe Bikila made history as the first black athlete from sub-Saharan Africa winning the marathon. Many athletes were competing and launching their careers at these Games such as Cassius Clay who became Muhammad Ali, sprinter Wilma Rudolph who the Italians nicknames “the black gazelle” and Sofia, who sailed with the Greek sailing team and went on to become the Queen of Spain.

The legacy of the Rome ’60 Games sets a rich tapestry for the 2020 bid a good 60 years later.

Keywords · Rome 1960 · Rome 2020 · Mario Pescante · Franco Carraro · Gianni Petrucci · Gianni Alemanno

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Laura Walden ()

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