|The new model of the torch.
The new model, decidedly classical in line
with slim and slightly conical fluting, was built by the firm of Curtisa
of Bologna. The torches, placed in appropriate cylindrical boxes, were
despatched in rectangular cases containing 6 to 12 models. In December
1959, the Section and the Olympic Torch Committee faced the problem of
the emphasis to be placed on all artistic and historical items existing
in each area passed by the relay. In January 1960, approval was given to
the publication of a treatise which not only summarised and illustrated
the technical operations throughout the various sections of the course
but also described the intimate significance of the XVII Olympiad. In this
respect, direct contact was also established with the Italian Touring Club
for the production of a work to be entitled " The Olympic Flame from Greece
to Rome ". During this same period, a solution to the problem of transporting
the athletes to the various hand-over points of the relay was arrived at
and it was decided that the Chairman of the Committee should visit Greece
to finalise the arrangements for the Ceremony of handing over the Flame.
From Olympia to Rome.
At 9.30 on the morning of 12th August 1960
the historic ceremony of the kindling of the sacred Flame took place at
Olympia. Operations commenced at 9.30 in the Temple of Jupiter. A Greek
woman wearing the clothes of an ancient Priestess held a parabolic reflector
over the torch and in a few seconds the torch flared. Before proceeding
with the kindling of the flame, the Priestess had said a prayer to Jupiter
" that the rays of Phoebus should kindle the sacred torch, whose flame,
carried across land and sea to the Stadium of Rome, would enlighten the
noble competition of the peaceful Games for all peoples of the earth ".
The Priestess and the vestals wore ash-grey tunics similar to those in
use at the time of the priestesses of the Goddess Hera.
On board the " Vespucci ".
As soon as the torch was lit, it was placed
in a classical Greek vase and carried in procession to the ancient Temple
of Hera. Meanwhile, the vestals performed classical dances whilst the Priestess
kindled another torch with the flame in the vase and handed it over to
the first runner, Penaghoitis Epitropoulos, an athlete who was later to
compete in the Decathlon of the Rome Games. The Greek athlete received
the torch kneeling and immediately started to run in the direction of Athens.
The course of 330 kms was undertaken by a relay organised by the Greek
Olympic Committee and passed through Pyrgos, Patras, Corinth, Megara and
At 21.00 hrs on the 13th August, the Flame
was handed over by H.R.H. Prince Constantine of Greece in the course of
a picturesque ceremony to Mr. Piero Oneglio, Vice-President of the C.O.N.I.
and representative of the Organising Committee. He, in turn, handed it
over to Mr. Aldo Mairano, President of the Olympic Torch Committee who
then passed the symbolic Flame to a cadet of the Italian Navy who boarded
a Greek whale-boat and crossed over to the harbour of Zeas near Piraeus
and brought it aboard the training-ship " Amerigo Vespucci ". At 20.30
hrs on 18th August, the Flame was disembarked at Syracuse and received
by the President of the Sicilian Region not far from Fonte Aretusa. From
Syracuse, the Relay followed the same course as that followed by the ancient
Greeks during the period when they founded their colonies and through those
parts whose former prosperity earned them the name of Magna Grecia.
The itinerary covered 1,532.800 kms in all.
The course was divided up into 1,199 fractions, most of them 1,500 metres
long, to be covered in a time of 5 mins. 30 secs. Exception was made in
the case of uphill stretches where the distance was cut down to 1,000 metres
to be run in the same time. (Table No. 3). The torch-bearers were recruited
from amongst the members of sports clubs and schools in the fifteen provinces
the Relay passed through. The selection was made after strict training
on tracks and roads, particular attention being paid to the selection of
those who were to run through towns. All the fractions were covered in
the established time.
The handing over of the Flame was effected
by applying torch to torch, to the accompaniment of great popular enthusiasm
which this race aroused. In places where special ceremonies were to be
held, namely, Syracuse, Messina (where the Straits were crossed aboard
characteristic Messina craft and accompanied by practically the whole of
the shipping from that city), Reggio Calabria, Metaponto and Castelgandolfo,
use was made of tripods burning fuel lit by the Olympic Torch. Other tripods
were used at those points where the Torch remained overnight, i.e. Crotone,
Taranto, Potenza, Paestum, S. Maria Capua Vetere, these being closely guarded
by young athletes and surrounded by crowds of local townspeople increasing
in numbers as day dawned. All the centres along the course witnessed scenes
of great enthusiasm on the part of the population as a result of the initiatives
taken by the Authorities and sports officials. Colourful spectacular scenes
of festivity were the rule at the passage of the Torch. Everywhere flowers,
fireworks, the ringing of church bells and thousands of young people wearing
the traditional five coloured rings greeted the Flame. Large panels illustrating
the various sports, special lighting and a panoply of flags provided exceptional
spectacle value doing full justice to the spiritual significance of this
event. The organisation for the Province of Rome was encharged to Lt. Col.
Francesco Andreotti of the Metropolitan Police Corps.
The Olympic Torch entered into the territory
of the province at the 48.34 kilometre mark along the Via Appia Nuova on
24th August at 17.12 hrs and was taken into custody by the Prefect, who
then handed it over to the first torch-bearer of the province. The successive
hand-overs in front of the Municipalities of the various Communes took
place at the following times:-
Velletri, 17.43" hrs; Genzano, 18.32'30"
hrs; Ariccia, 18.43'15" hrs; Albano 18.5312 " hrs; Castelgandolfo, 19.03'
hrs and Rome (Capitol) at 21.00' hrs.
Upon arrival at the Capitol, the last athlete
of the Relay greeted the crowd, raising the Torch in their direction, and
then proceeded to light the tripod which was kept alight until the next
day. Thus the great relay came to an end to the sound of a fanfare by the
Followers of Vitorchiano. Here the people of Rome enjoyed one of the most
colourful ceremonies. Within the framework of the Michelangelo Palaces
on the Capitol where Rome in the person of Tarquinius the Proud raised
the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus Capitolinus, the Sacred Flame burned
throughout the night, whilst the Olympic Flag fluttered on the Capitol
The following day, in the presence of the
Mayor of the City and numerous representatives from the Government, the
Armed Forces and the Organising Committee, the relay took up its course
once more and, crossing Rome via the Corso and the Via Flaminia, reached
the Olympic Stadium at 17.30 hrs as the Opening Ceremony was taking place.
document: Official Report 1960,
Vol. I, page 197 - 222)