Dubliner Ronan Fox recently discovered a box of slides in his father’s attic which had been forgotten about for decades. Ronan subsequently digitised the slides and the photos that were revealed provided some great images from the bike races at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. We published the first set of the photos in a previous post.
Ronan’s father Seán had been team manager for the Irish cycling team in Rome and while he was in the Italian city, he also took the opportunity to take some rare colour photos from the Games. His photos are from the road race, track races and also show what was going on behind the scenes at the athletes’ village. Ronan previously wrote a great article about the Irish team’s adventures in Rome and you can access the article here.
Despite the great action on the road and on the track, cycling at the XVII Olympiad was overshadowed by the sad death of Danish rider Knud Enemark Jensen who was only 23.
Jensen had been one of four-man Danish competing in the 100-kilometre team time trial. On an exceedingly hot day, Jensen told his teammates that he felt ill early on in the race. Temperatures reached 40°C during the race with numerous riders suffering from heatstroke.
Jensen ended up falling from his bike, fracturing his skull on the pavement. He was brought by ambulance to a military tent near the finish line, where he died that afternoon without regaining consciousness. The doctors who performed the autopsy on Jensen’s body stated that his death was caused by heatstroke, and that no drugs were found in his body. Rumours would circulate though that he had taken amphetamines.
The Italian team ended up winning the team time-trial and dominating cycling at the Games as they took five out of the six gold medals available. The one gold medal they missed out was in the road race which was won by Viktor Kapitonov of the Soviet Union.
For Irish riders, they wouldn’t have another chance to compete at the Olympics for another eight years. In Mexico in 1968, Morris Foster, Liam Horner and Peter Doyle made up the three-man team who took part in the road race.