Olympics: Rome

Wow. Finally.

After many days of traveling and feeling shafted after going to the London Olympic site, I feel like I saw a lot and enjoyed much from the Rome site.

Rome hosted the 27th Olympiad in 1960. This was the first Olympic games shown in North America. CBS paid $394,000 (adjusted for inflation $3,108,127 in 2013) for the exclusive rights to broadcast the games. The Olympics were also hosted for the first time in Canada on CBC Television and Mexico through Telesistema Mexicano.

Some notable American athletes:

  • Wilma Rudolph: dubbed “The Black Gazelle” by the European Press and “the fastest woman in the world”, she became the first American woman to win three gold medals in one Olympics.
  • Cassius Clay: Won boxing’s light-heavyweight gold medal
  • Men’s Basketball: captured its 5th straight gold medal

Overall the US came in second in the medal count. Having a total of 71 medals (34 gold, 21 silver, 16 Bronze). The Soviet Union came in first with 103 medals, and the host country Italy came in third with 36 medals.

Reconstruction of a City

The Roman Games established a turning point in the Olympic history as these games became a precedence for significant urban change. Occuring a decade after WWII, these were the first post-war games for a ‘unified’ world. In five years, the city restored three exhisting sports arenas, constructed 1,800 apartments that housed the 5,348 athletes and coaches (which were eventually handed back to the state and becamelow-income housing), and created the longest, most costly highways to link all of the sites. Two were built, running the length of the city which stimulated real-estate development along their routes. The city also developed a new water supply system, new hotels, a new jetport, improved public transport, street lighting and solidified its international connection to the world (by spending more than 1/3 of total funding) on the Leonardo da Vinci – Fiumicino Airport.

In summary, the Rome Olympics of 1960 was a defining moment in the history of the modern Olympic movement, as it became the first major Olympiad to trigger a wide range of lasting urban improvements. Unlike the earlier productions of the Games, the Olympic sport spectacles since 1960 on have retained a vigorous tendency to stimulate and accelerate major developments such as new road systems, public transport initiatives, air terminals, urban renewal programs, tourist and cultural facilities, and parks and beautification projects designed to enhance the city’s landscape and environment.Indeed, the expenses involved in staging an Olympic celebration are now so excessive that host cities can often only justify the expenditure when it is seen as leading to a major program of regeneration and improvement. Thus, it can be said that the modern Olympics have developed from a comparatively small-scale beginning, and emerged as a remarkable catalyst of urban change and a considerable instrument for urban policy. (Citation.)

My time at this site was amazing. From seeing the statues up close to running on the track to seeing some special tributes to the athletes, I could almost feel how it was like to be in the moment 50 years ago. While I was able to see a few Olympic sites, I sadly unable to see the official stadium, Stadio Olimpico. They were doing a sound check for a pop Italian artist, Eros Ramazzotti. The sound check sounded rather nice, however, I would’ve still prefered he picked a different day to have his concert – sheesh!

I learned a lot at this site as it has a really cool Olympic Games museum nearby. From 2012 to 776 BC, there was a nice collection of Olympic information that really made this whole trip worthwhile.

Haha all in all the Rome site was great! This has been my favorite Italian city, and learning more about this city’s Olympic history makes it that much more special.

DSCN1145

Statues of different sports

Statues of different sports

Becoming one with the field...

Becoming one with the field…

Reliving my past as an athlete

Reliving my past as an athlete

These Olympic statues were HUGE!

These Olympic statues were BIG…

...really big!

…really big!

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