Though the games were held at the height of the Mediterranean summer (against medical advice) they were a spectacular success.
Memorable victories seen around the world – for these Games were the first to get saturation TV coverage – were those of the Tennessee beauty, Wilma Rudolph, Frankfurt office worker Armin Hary, local hero Livio Berruti and the Ethiopian marathon runner Abebe Bikila.
Rudolph, a polio victim who could not walk properly until she was eight – won all three sprint records for the USA. The unknown Bikila, barefoot and untroubled, led home the marathon runners to win the first track and field gold medal ever to go to Africa.
46 year old Australian horseman Bill Roycroft, left his hospital bed – he had broken his collarbone in a fall – and helped Laurie Morgan and Neale Lavis to victory over the cream of the world’s riders in the Three-Day Equestrian Event for teams.