Every Olympiad has its own special atmosphere, and this derives, at least in part, from its locale. The first modern Olympic Games, in 1896, took their aura from their setting in Athens—capital of Greece and an out-sized javelin throw from Olympia, where the ancient Games were held. Since then, the Olympic Games have affected and been affected by many environments: cosmopolitan Paris (1900, 1924), circusy St. Louis (1904), foggy London (1908, 1948), northerly Stockholm (1912) and Helsinki (1952), sunny Los Angeles (1932) and the boot-ringing climate of Hitler's Berlin in 1936.
This year the Games return once more to a classical atmosphere, as the Eternal City of Rome opens its venerable arms to the athletes of the world (and streams of Olympics-bound tourists). Seemingly, all roads do lead to Rome, for this summer more nations than ever before—upward of 85, including several of the newly formed African republics—are sending teams to the Rome Games.
For 18 golden days, the glory that was Greece will be married to the grandeur of Rome, and this classic fusion should produce a spectacle seldom witnessed in Olympic history.
Because the site of an Olympiad plays a significant part in the overall picture of the Games, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has devoted many pages over past months to the city of Rome itself, starting with Dmitri Kessel's photographic portfolio of Rome at night, The Nocturnal City, in our year-end issue.
Next week, our pre-Olympics preparation climaxes in the Olympic Preview Issue, with form charts on the pre-Games favorites in all events, a color photography gallery of Olympic competitors from all around the world and an explosive assessment of the tangled issues of amateurism and professionalism as they confront each other today.
On August 25 the torch, having been borne up the Appian Way, will enter the Olympic Stadium at 5:40 p.m. to signal the beginning of the Games. From then through to the closing ceremony on September 11, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S own Olympic reporting team headed by Bob Creamer and accompanied by Tex Maule, Martin Kane, Ken Rudeen and Arlie Schardt will be on the spot to bring-you the story.
P.S. Speaking of the Olympics, you may recall my MEMO of July 18 in which I said that we would send one of our Olympic Wheels to anyone who would send us a dollar for the Olympic Fund. At this writing, 1,295 readers have requested 1,743 Wheels and sent in a total of $1,944.97. That's a lot of track shoes.