Athletics at the 1960 Summer Olympics

Dates 31 August – 10 September 1960
Medal Events 34

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.

Events

Event Status Date Participants NOCs
100 metres, Men Olympic 31 August – 1 September 1960 61 45
200 metres, Men Olympic 2 – 3 September 1960 62 47
400 metres, Men Olympic 3 – 6 September 1960 54 41
800 metres, Men Olympic 31 August – 2 September 1960 51 35
1,500 metres, Men Olympic 3 – 6 September 1960 39 25
5,000 metres, Men Olympic 31 August – 2 September 1960 48 31
10,000 metres, Men Olympic 8 September 1960 33 20
Marathon, Men Olympic 10 September 1960 69 35
110 metres Hurdles, Men Olympic 3 – 5 September 1960 36 21
400 metres Hurdles, Men Olympic 31 August – 2 September 1960 34 23
3,000 metres Steeplechase, Men Olympic 1 – 3 September 1960 32 20
4 x 100 metres Relay, Men Olympic 7 – 8 September 1960 78 19
4 x 400 metres Relay, Men Olympic 7 – 8 September 1960 76 19
20 kilometres Walk, Men Olympic 2 September 1960 36 18
50 kilometres Walk, Men Olympic 7 September 1960 39 20
High Jump, Men Olympic 1 September 1960 32 23
Pole Vault, Men Olympic 5 – 7 September 1960 29 20
Long Jump, Men Olympic 2 September 1960 49 34
Triple Jump, Men Olympic 6 September 1960 39 24
Shot Put, Men Olympic 31 August 1960 24 16
Discus Throw, Men Olympic 6 – 7 September 1960 35 22
Hammer Throw, Men Olympic 2 – 3 September 1960 28 18
Javelin Throw, Men Olympic 7 – 8 September 1960 28 18
Decathlon, Men Olympic 5 – 6 September 1960 30 20
100 metres, Women Olympic 1 – 2 September 1960 31 18
200 metres, Women Olympic 3 – 5 September 1960 29 17
800 metres, Women Olympic 6 – 7 September 1960 27 15
80 metres Hurdles, Women Olympic 31 August – 1 September 1960 28 17
4 x 100 metres Relay, Women Olympic 7 – 8 September 1960 40 10
High Jump, Women Olympic 7 – 8 September 1960 23 15
Long Jump, Women Olympic 31 August 1960 30 18
Shot Put, Women Olympic 2 September 1960 18 12
Discus Throw, Women Olympic 3 – 5 September 1960 24 15
Javelin Throw, Women Olympic 1 September 1960 20 14
1014 (810/204) 71 (70/33)

Medals

Event Gold Silver Bronze
100 metres, Men Armin HaryGER Dave SimeUSA Peter RadfordGBR
200 metres, Men Livio BerrutiITA Les CarneyUSA Abdou SèyeFRA
400 metres, Men Otis DavisUSA Carl KaufmannGER Malcolm SpenceRSA
800 metres, Men Peter SnellNZL Roger MoensBEL George KerrWIF
1,500 metres, Men Herb ElliottAUS Michel JazyFRA István RózsavölgyiHUN
5,000 metres, Men Murray HalbergNZL Hans GrodotzkiGER Kazimierz ZimnyPOL
10,000 metres, Men Pyotr BolotnikovURS Hans GrodotzkiGER Dave PowerAUS
Marathon, Men Abebe BikilaETH Rhadi Ben AbdesselamMAR Barry MageeNZL
110 metres Hurdles, Men Lee CalhounUSA Willie MayUSA Hayes JonesUSA
400 metres Hurdles, Men Glenn DavisUSA Cliff CushmanUSA Dick HowardUSA
3,000 metres Steeplechase, Men Zdzisław KrzyszkowiakPOL Nikolay SokolovURS Semyon RzhishchinURS
4 × 100 metres Relay, Men Unified Team of GermanyGER Soviet UnionURS Great BritainGBR
4 × 400 metres Relay, Men United StatesUSA Unified Team of GermanyGER West Indies FederationWIF
20 kilometres Walk, Men Vladimir GolubnichyURS Noel FreemanAUS Stan VickersGBR
50 kilometres Walk, Men Don ThompsonGBR John LjunggrenSWE Abdon PamichITA
High Jump, Men Robert' Shavlaq'adzeURS Valery BrumelURS John ThomasUSA
Pole Vault, Men Don BraggUSA Ron MorrisUSA Eeles LandströmFIN
Long Jump, Men Ralph BostonUSA Bo RobersonUSA Igor Ter-OvanesyanURS
Triple Jump, Men Józef SzmidtPOL Vladimir GoryayevURS Vitold KreyerURS
Shot Put, Men Bill NiederUSA Parry O'BrienUSA Dallas LongUSA
Discus Throw, Men Al OerterUSA Rink BabkaUSA Dick CochranUSA
Hammer Throw, Men Vasily RudenkovURS Gyula ZsivótzkyHUN Tadeusz RutPOL
Javelin Throw, Men Viktor TsybulenkoURS Walter KrügerGER Gergely KulcsárHUN
Decathlon, Men Rafer JohnsonUSA Yang C. K.TPE Vasily KuznetsovURS
100 metres, Women Wilma RudolphUSA Dorothy HymanGBR Giuseppina LeoneITA
200 metres, Women Wilma RudolphUSA Jutta HeineGER Dorothy HymanGBR
800 metres, Women Lyudmila LysenkoURS Brenda JonesAUS Ulla DonathGER
80 metres Hurdles, Women Irina PressURS Carole QuintonGBR Gisela BirkemeyerGER
4 × 100 metres Relay, Women United StatesUSA Unified Team of GermanyGER PolandPOL
High Jump, Women Iolanda BalașROU Dorothy Shirley
Jarosława Jóźwiakowska
GBR
POL
Long Jump, Women Vera KrepkinaURS Elżbieta KrzesińskaPOL Hildrun ClausGER
Shot Put, Women Tamara PressURS Johanna LüttgeGER Earlene BrownUSA
Discus Throw, Women Nina Romashkova-PonomaryovaURS Tamara PressURS Lia ManoliuROU
Javelin Throw, Women Elvīra OzoliņaURS Dana ZátopkováTCH Birutė KalėdienėURS

Medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
United States USA 12 8 6 26
Soviet Union URS 11 5 5 21
Germany GER 2 8 3 13
Poland POL 2 2 3 7
New Zealand NZL 2 0 1 3
Great Britain GBR 1 3 4 8
Australia AUS 1 2 1 4
Italy ITA 1 0 2 3
Romania ROU 1 0 1 2
Ethiopia ETH 1 0 0 1
Hungary HUN 0 1 2 3
France FRA 0 1 1 2
Belgium BEL 0 1 0 1
Chinese Taipei TPE 0 1 0 1
Czechoslovakia TCH 0 1 0 1
Morocco MAR 0 1 0 1
Sweden SWE 0 1 0 1
West Indies Federation WIF 0 0 2 2
Finland FIN 0 0 1 1
South Africa RSA 0 0 1 1