50 years after Rome hosted the 1960 Olympics, city authorities are to host a series of commemorative events, the first of which takes place at the municipal headquarters in Piazza del Campidoglio on Wednesday 25 August. In addition to a nostalgic look at the past, the city also looks to the future as the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) affirms Rome's bid to host the 2020 Olympic games and uses the occasion to promote the city as the 'world capital of sport'.
The ceremony is to be thronged with officials from the world of sport as well as sporting legends from the 1960 Olympics, including Nino Benvenuti, Italy's gold medal winning boxer, and American pole vaulting champion Don Bragg. Andras Bodnar, the Hungarian water polo player who won gold in Tokyo's 1964 Olympics, will present the mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, with a plaque for the building in the Olympic village in which the Hungarian representatives stayed in 1960.
Also, in a symbolic gesture, Giancarlo Peris, the torchbearer from Rome's first Olympics will light the brazier. The inaugural ceremony, which begins at 20.00, concludes with the screening of Romolo Marcellini's film-documentary 'La grande Olimpiade'. The official film of the XVII Olympics, it was cut from over 2,000 metres of film and was later nominated for an Oscar.
Further commemorative events take place in Rome until 11 September and include the unveiling of a plaque near the arch of Constantine for Abebe Bikila, the Ethiopia runner who became a symbol of victory for Africa when he came first place in the marathon, having run the full course barefoot. Still a source of pride for many older Italians, the games were the first to be shown live on television. Among the notable participants were Cassius Clay, aka Muhammad Ali, and Sofia, future Queen of Spain, who was part of the Greek sailing team.
To see further details of Rome's bid for the 2020 Oympics see: http://www.2020roma.it