The Secretariat and General Affairs Section was formed on 1st October 1956 and entrusted to the care of Dr. Gino Del Neri .
The tasks of the Section were subdivided into five groups: – 1. – Relations with the Olympic Authorities (International Olympic Committee, National Olympic Committees, International Sports Federations) .
2. – Relations with the Office for Religious Assistance to Athletes .
3. – Relations with Authorities and private persons of the City of Rome for the solution of problems not strictly connected with the Games, namely, the reception capacity and decoration of the City (Municipality of Rome, Provincial Tourist Board, Italian State Tourist Office, Hotelkeepers Association) .
4. – Planning of Olympic cards and badges; distribution of medals and souvenirs; various provisions for participants in the Games; arranging for gifts to be made available to participants by various Associations and Firms; contracts for Customs operations .
5. – Philatelic assistance, issue of philatelic material, etc .

Relations with the I. O. C.

One of the first duties undertaken was the drawing up of the first report presented at the 52nd Session of the I.O.C., held at Melbourne on 19th November 1956, on the eve of the Games of the XVI Olympiad. This report followed the questionnaire submitted to the I.O.C. during the Paris Session in June 1955 .
The successive official reports drawn up by the Section were presented by the Italian Delegation on the occasion of the following Sessions of the I.O.C.: 2nd Report presented at Evian on the occasion of the meeting held from 3rd to 7th June 1957 and opened by the Executive Board of the I.O.C. as well as to the Representatives of International Sports Federations and National Olympic Committees; 3rd Report at Sofia for the 53rd Session of the I.O.C., celebrated from 22nd to 28th September 1957; 4th Report at the 54th Session of the I.O.C., held at Tokyo from 14th to 17th May 1958; 5th Report on the occasion of the meeting of the Executive Board of the I.O.C. at which representatives of Olympic Committees were present (this time the Section also dealt with accommodation matters), held at Rome on 19th May 1959; this same Report was presented at the 55th Session of the I.O.C., held at Monaco from 25th to 27th May 1959; lastly the 6th Report for the 56th Session of the I.O.C., which took place at San Francisco from 12th February 1960 .
In January 1957, the Section made its first contacts for the nomination of the Olympic Attaches. In June 1957, the first nominations of attaches were received as proposed by the National Olympic Committees concerned .
Roughly during the same period, the first " guidance" circulars were distributed to National Olympic Committees with the aim of intensifying relations as well as to know the requirements in respect of participation of each Committee in the Games of the XVII Olympiad .
In the meantime, the Section circulated special notices throughout the Press to protect the Olympic emblems. These gave warning which prohibited the use of Olympic symbols by companies or private individuals for publicity or commercial reasons. Referring to Art. 14 of Law no. 929 dated 21st June 1942, the Section warned that severe action would be taken against any attempt at abuse, having in the meanwhile registered the following symbols as patents: the five Olympic rings; the Roman Wolf surmounting the figures " MCMLX " and the five Olympic rings; the same symbol with the initials " C.I.O. "; the Roman Wolf, " MCMLX " with other ornaments .
From January 1957 onwards, negotiations were held with the hotelkeepers of Rome for the accommodation of the Members of the I.O.C., the Presidents and Secretaries of National Olympic Committeees and of International Sports Federations as well as for guests of honour in general. These negotiations took place with the collaboration of the Rome Municipality, the Provincial Tourist Board, and with other public and administrative bodies having an interest in the Olympic organization. It was thus possible to set up an approximate plan for the booking and distribution of lodging and in June 1957, an agreement was reached with the Provincial Tourist Board and the Rome hotelkeepers whereby accommodation for the Olympic personalities was reserved .
To control the movement of the public towards the stadia and at the same time control the vast flow of traffic, the Municipality made use of 15,000 metres of barricades. Thus such events as the arrival of the Olympic Torch, the folkloristic shows in Circus Maximus and at Piazza di Siena, the symphony concerts in the Stadio di Domiziano on the Palatine Hill, with the Orchestra of the Academy of Santa Cecilia, the opera presentations at the Opera Theatre, the performances of classical plays at the Roman Theatre of Ostia Antica, the " Sound and Light " shows in the Roman Forum, etc., were able to proceed without incident .

Decorative improvements to Rome

The accredited tourist agencies the occasion of the Games, the Organizing Committee wished to ensure that lodging would be available to all purchasers of entrance tickets to the stadia .
In this connection, the Section invited all the National Olympic Committees, in April 1958, to indicate a local tourist agency of their choice which could be made responsible for the sale of tickets. This agency, once officially chosen and accredited, was empowered, by agreement with the Provincial Tourist Office at Rome, to reserve accommodation. Thus tourists wishing to reach the Italian Capital to be present at Olympic events were able to refer directly to their accredited Agency in each Country for both the purchase of the tickets desired and for the booking of the necessary lodging. It should at once be stated that the worries of the Roman organizers in this connection proved quite unjustified and the cautionary measures adopted were only necessary for hotels of I and II categories, whilst for all other types plenty of accommodation was available even during peak periods of the Olympic Games .
The list of the officially accredited tourist agencies has been set out in the chapter on the " Tickets and Control " Section, which was responsible for the booking and sale of entrance tickets through the media of these agencies .
It should be remembered that other initiatives to facilitate the stay in Rome of the Olympic tourists were taken. In this connection, the Authorities also granted permission for foreigners to drive motor vehicles registered in Italy .
During the course of the second half of 1959, in agreement with a number of Ministries and Associations, it was decided to set up the following special " Olympic Offices " which acted in liaison with the Organizing Committee: - Ministry of Defence: for the setting up of the Olympic Military Detachment and for general agreements on Army personnel and materials to be used by the Olympic Organization .
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs: for international relations with diplomatic Delegations and Personalities and for possible interventions as regards visas, ceremonies, etc .
- Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications: for the setting up of telephone services, teleprinters and technical installations for the Press services .
- Municipality of Rome: for everything concerning the city, including traffic organization and decoration .
- Banca Nazionale del Lavoro: for all banking services including international operations connected with the Rome Olympic Games (the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro was chosen as the official bank of the Organizing Committee) .
- Italian Radio and Television Co.: for the technical and executive sections of the radio and television broadcasts in Italy and abroad, as well as for the transmitting of the Olympic TV News .
- Provincial Tourist Board: for the hospitality offered to and reception of tourists, census and coordination of available hotel accommodation, details of private accommodation and consequent allotment of same .
- Alitalia Airlines: official carriers for the Rome Olympic Games .
It should be remembered that, on account of the diversity of the duties of each, the Olympic Offices offered their services with the aim of reaching the organization goals common to all, in direct consultation with the various Sections of the Organizing Committee. Thus the various chapters in the Official Report show the contributions rendered by each Olympic Office to the organization of the Rome Games .
Other questions were treated with various bodies and especially with the Ministry of Health. On the basis of international health conventions, precise agreements were drawn up and, in February 1960, decisions were taken in conjunction with Italian Health Authorities established at the point of entry into the Country, whether by sea or air, to require all tourists to produce: (a) an international certificate of vaccination against smallpox for travellers arriving by sea or air from all countries of Africa or Asia, with the exception of Turkey; and (b) a certificate of inoculation against cholera for all travellers arriving by air from infected zones .

Special provisions for athletes

The Section negotiated with a number of firms who not only collaborated with the Organization but also made a point of offering a number of gifts to participating athletes .
Further provisions and facilities were granted to allow certain advantages to athletes and accompanying personnel possessing an Olympic Card. Thus the concession of free entrance to all Museums, Galleries, and Monuments of the city was allowed from February 1957 onwards, and this was also extended to include the Vatican City .
Concessions for free transport on City buses, trolleybuses and trams for all holders of an Olympic Card were granted by the Municipal transport authority. But the most difficult negotiations were those with the Ministry of Transport for the concession of a reduction on State Railways for travellers to Rome and from Rome to other sites of Olympic events.  Unfortunately these negotiations were not wholly successful, although a reduction of 20%, valid for not more than two months within the period of 20th June-20th September, was granted to holders of the Olympic Card only. In this connection, mention must be made of reductions on the railways conceded by other Countries, i.e. Bulgaria 25 %, Portugal 20 %, Spain 25 %, and Turkey 25 % .
The Italian shipping companies, i.e. Soc. Italia Adriatica, Lloyd Triestino, and Soc. Lauro also granted considerable reductions on the prices of return tickets for athletes in possession of an Olympic Card. No reduction was, however, obtained from the air companies which, despite the increased tourist traffic resulting from the holding of the Olympic Games, refused to grant any facilities even to those participants in the Games in possession of an Olympic Card. Alitalia was the only exception to this rule, collaborating with the Organizing Committee by the offer of its services and thus meriting the title of official carrier of the Games. In fact, despite the attitude adopted by the air companies, the Section, in September 1957, in agreement with Alitalia, C.I.T., and E.N.I.T. organized a series of free trips to Rome reserved to sports directors and journalists belonging to those countries with which Alitalia was linked by air, with the aim of allowing the very welcome guests, two years before the Games, to visit the works being undertaken. In the course of this period 38 trips took place, a total of 300 persons being transported .

Badges and uniforms

In February plans were made for badges for athletes, directors, judges, etc. and in March 1958 the coinage of the winners' medals and the commemorative medal was approved. Later, a plan for badges of 66 different types was also approved. (Table No. 2) .
This table shows that 12,341 badges were handed over. In the meantime a total of 16,276 commemorative medals were also distributed .
Besides the badges of the various sports categories and the commemorative medals, the Section, at the beginning of 1960, decided on the types of uniforms which were distributed to officials and personnel of the Organizing Committee .
Thus all the technical delegates, competition judges, and timekeepers chosen by the various International Sports Federations had a special uniform, identical in all cases, with the exception of the different badge worn according to the sport practiced. The uniform was made up of grey tropical wool cloth consisting of: a single-breasted jacket with three buttons and patch-pockets; on the pocket of the jacket was applied the symbol of the Rome Olympic Games for members of the Organizing Committee; trousers of the same material; white shirt; silk tie with the official badge of the Games; blue leather belt;  white socks; white and black shoes. Judges and timekeepers only were also provided, when on competition sites in the open, with a transparent raincoat .
The women also had a uniform made in the same cloth, styled like a " chemisier " dress with open pointed collar, with side pleats on the front of the bodice running from collar to waist. The badge was attached to the sleeves .
The skirt was stitched to the bodice also with pleats all round and two side pockets hidden in the pleats. A belt and bag in black canvas with white leather ornamentation in front was also provided, the bag with white leather shoulder strap and fastening .

The Insurance policy

In accordance with the convention stipulated on 3rd February 1960 with the Organizing Committee, the National Institute of Insurance offered free of charge insurance coverage for athletes taking part in the Games as well as to officially accredited journalists, radio and TV commentators, for a total capital outlay of 7,500,000,000 lire .
Thus, as already indicated in the chapter on " The Carrying Out of the Task ", the Policy was perfected and called the " Rome Olympic Games Policy ", assuring a capital of 1 million lire in case of death only. The validity of the policy was established for the whole period in which the individual athletes participating and the officially accredited journalists came under the administrative jurisdiction of the organization of the Games .
The Policy was claimed and put into effect in only one case, on the occasion of the sad death of the Danish cyclist Knud Enemark-Jensen. The insured capital of 1 million lire was paid out ten days after the unfortunate event, on 5th September at 11 a.m. in the headquarters of the Organizing Committee, to Mr. Erik Krog Mayer, first secretary of the Royal Danish Embassy to the Italian Republic .

The Olympic Identity Card

At the end of the first half of 1959 the Olympic Identity Card was approved .
The first thought of the Organizing Committee was to obtain from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and from the Ministry of the Interior authority for this Olympic document to be considered as a normal passport, as well as a permit for the carrying of arms for sports shooting .
The Olympic Identity Card was printed on " papertex " produced by the Snia-Viscosa Company. The document, consisting of four pages besides that of the cover, contained on the first page the photograph of the bearer, on the second a complete list of personal data while the third and fourth pages contained the validation of the Olympic Committee and of the Authorities of the Country to which the bearer belonged .
In addition, the Identity Cards were enclosed in covers in six different colours, these being handed over at the moment of validation of the Olympic Identity Card .
The identity cards were valid from 1st June to 30th September 1960 .
According to category, all bearers of the Olympic Identity Card, equipped with the special badge handed to them on their arrival at Rome, were entitled to free transport on the various forms of transport placed at their disposal by the Organizing Committee for travelling to stadia and competition, and training grounds. In addition, the Olympic Card allowed bearers free transport on all trams, buses, and trolley-buses of the City network, free entrance to Museums, Art Exhibitions, as mentioned earlier .
The distribution of the Olympic Identity Cards took place in three distinct phases, i.e.: (a) pre-Olympic: preparation; (b) Olympic period: final adjustments, validation and release of Olympic Cards with distribution of badges and commemorative medals; (c) post-Olympic period: closing of activities and summing up .
The first phase implied particularly delicate work with the dispatch of the Cards to all National Olympic Committees and International Sports Federations .
The second period, from 10th August to the end of the Games, was necessarily more complex: the validation of Olympic Cards reached as much as 800 per day, implying continuous work from 8 a.m. to midnight .
The third period was devoted to the summing up of distribution to each single country, which gave one the various final totals .

Customs formalities problems

In June 1957, the Section first made its contacts with the Ministry of Finance with a view to solving the problem of customs formalities in connection with the technical material, sports clothing, and special foodstuffs to be brought into the country by the various sports teams. It was only in May 1958 that the negotiations were concluded whereby goods destined for use during the Games would receive special concessions. The Italian Customs Administration created special extraordinary measures in order to allow the maximum speeding-up of formalities for both persons and materials as well as for any special equipment required for the Olympic events.  A special Customs Section was established within the Olympic Village with powers not only to carry out activities subsidiary to normal frontier services but also authorized to handle every possible special operation in connection with customs procedure. (See Table No. 6) .
The Naples Customs set up a fixed post at the Maritime Station as well as a mobile post for the supply of fuel, arranged on a lighter in the small harbour of S. Lucia. This enabled rapid bunkering to be effected to craft which had arrived in Italy and which were anchored close in or in the off-shore waters .
An indication of the increased number of incoming foreign tourists may be gathered from the data obtained during the period August-September 1960 as compared with movement registered during the corresponding months of 1959 which show that the increase in question was far higher than the annual average of preceding years. For example, insofar as the airports of Rome and Naples alone are concerned, the increase in the number of visitors arriving and departing as compared to the same period of 1959 was shown to be of approximately 20 per cent .
As already mentioned, all persons in possession of the Olympic Identity Card, which was the only document required in order to obtain customs facilities granted for the occasion, obtained special benefits such as permission to bring temporarily into the country personal effects contained in the luggage of the foreign sports delegations, objects and other material required for daily use, etc. In particular, special facilities were granted for the free entry into the country of ammunition to be used during training and the competitions proper as well as for the special foodstuffs intended for the various groups of athletes in connection with special national food requirements or on account of special diets in connection with the different methods of training .
For sailing and rowing boats, horses and respective harnessings, and for all other sports material arrangements were made for these to be brought in under the temporary import scheme without obligation of paying any deposit, as is prescribed, as the C.O.N.I. had stood as guarantor to the Treasury .
It may be affirmed that the Customs activity in connection with the Games of the XVII Olympiad involved all of the most important customs offices situated at the land, sea and air frontiers besides the special section set up within the Olympic Village .
After a number of detailed negotiations, the Section submitted the suggested nomination of the firm of Gondrand as Official Forwarding Agents for the Games of the XVII Olympiad to the Organizing Committee for approval .
On the basis of a specified contract, Messrs. Gondrand worked in collaboration with the Customs service, with the Arrivals and Departures Office of the Olympic Village and with all Sections interested in the transportation and forwarding of sundry material .
Messrs. Gondrand Bros. mobilized the following specialized personnel to undertake the extra work involved: 6 heads of service, 8 customs delegates, 25 office staff and 110 workmen. For the transportation of luggage and sundry goods, it made use of 70 motor vehicles of various types which included 35 medium-sized lorries, 8 special lorries, 16 vans for the transport of horses, 7 special trailers, and 3 mobile cranes. These vehicles ensured a rapid and continuous service with the Airports of Ciampino and Fiumicino .
All the personal luggage of the sports authorities, athletes, journalists etc .
had special labels in papertex attached to it. The 60,000 labels used were divided up into six different groups, each of different colour and with different wording. The Members of the I.O.C., Presidents and Secretaries of Olympic Committees and the Presidents and Secretaries of International Sports Federations were provided with labels distinguished by a white band and the flag of the country of origin. For the athletes and juries the band was respectively green and light blue while the representatives of the Press were provided with a pink label. The labels for the Radio and TV corporations bore a pink band with the wording " Radio-TV " replacing the flag. Photographers had a white label with the wording " Foto " replacing the flag of country of origin. All the labels were numbered consecutively and contained sufficient space for the address .
Messrs. Gondrand attended to over 1,300 customs operations and effected the transportation of 14,842 pieces of luggage in arrival and 16,858 pieces in departure. In addition, it transported 135,000 kilograms of sports equipment and 45,000 kilos of television material as well as providing transport for 237 horses and 340 boats .

The Philatelists Assistance office

Ever since 1957, the Italian State gave its approval to the proposal that a series of commemorative stamps should be issued for the Games of the XVII Olympiad .
Later, for the first time in the history of the modern Olympic Games, the " Philatelists Assistance Office " was set up within the framework of the Secretariat and General Affairs Section. This office was responsible for the following tasks: 1) the issue and circulation of commemorative postcards, sticker labels, special postal cancellations, and all other material of interest to collectors; 2) the study and organizing of a special postal service in all sectors throughout the period of the Games in agreement with the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications; 3) maintaining contacts with the national and foreign postal Authorities for organizing issues of commemorative stamps; 4) supplying collectors with philatelic material commemorating the Games of the XVII Olympiad at completely non-speculative prices .
The constitution of this special service was made known generally by means of a circular published in 4 languages and which was despatched to specialized collectors, clubs, associations, recreation societies, and to all those directly or indirectly interested in this hobby, thereby creating every possible relationship necessary to ensure the success of the service .
The interest of the collectors immediately became apparent and, in the short space of a few months, applications flooded in to such a large degree that a real selection according to the requirements of each was rendered necessary .
In April 1958, the first special commemorative issue was brought out which consisted of the application on an official envelope of the mechanical franking in use at the Post Office of the C.O.N.I. for publicity reasons .
The celebration of the 1958 Olympic Day was recalled on 25th August 1958 by the application on an official envelope of the commemorative franking in use at the C.O.N.I. Post Office by the Organizing Committee of the Olympic Day .
A series of six postcards which had considerable success as publicity was conceived during the period between the second and third issues. These postcards, which drew attention to the ancient Olympic champions of Magna Grecia, stressed the historical continuity of the Games .
As the general programme provided for the issue of commemorative postcards on the occasion of the inauguration of the sports venues, it was thought opportune to prepare a series on " Ancient Olympic Champions ". This resulted in 10,000 series of six pieces being produced in double format. A further 30,000 copies were also planned beforehand which only bore the printing of the Olympic symbol. These latter series were held in anticipation of the inauguration of the following venues: Flaminio Stadium, Swimming Stadium, Olympic Velodrome, Palazzo dello Sport, and Lake Albano .
The issue of a series of sticker labels was undertaken with the reproduction of the symbol of the Games with wording in twelve different languages. This entire stock was exhausted before the beginning of the Games .
On March 18th, 1959, on the occasion of the inauguration of the Flaminio Stadium, a commemorative postcard in colour was issued with commemorative franking distributed by the Post Office of the C.O.N.I .
On 19th May 1959, on the occasion of the Rome meeting of the Executive Board of the I.O.C. and the representatives of National Olympic Committee, the Republic of San Marino issued a series of seven commemorative stamps seeking to recall a number of eminent personalities of the sports world. The subjects were furnished by the Organizing Committee in honour of these famous persons. Subscribers to the service were able to receive a " First Day of Issue " on an official envelope and a series of six maximum postcards with a reproduction in single colour of each individual stamp of this series .
On 23rd June 1959, the series of five stamps serving as Olympic publicity for Italy was issued on the double format postcards representing " Ancient Olympic Champions ". By agreement with the Provincial Directorate of the Rome Postal Services, a Special Post Office was set up within the Post Office of the C.O.N.I., where an artistic commemorative franking with the symbol of the Games could be obtained .
The setting up of the Post Office of the Olympic Committee on 23rd July 1959 was the occasion for the issue of a postcard of international philatelic format with the reproduction of the symbol of the Games. This card was marked with the cancellation of the above Office, coupled with a post-marking composed of the following wording: " Inauguration of the Post Office of the Organizing Committee " .
At short intervals, issues were also brought out on the occasion of the inauguration of the various sports venues and of the Celebration of the 1959 Olympic Day. On 22nd August 1959, a commemorative cancellation on one of the previously prepared postcards of double format was applied on the occasion of the inauguration of the Swimming Stadium and distributed by the Post Office of the Olympic Committee .
On 25th August 1959, the 1959 Olympic Day, the Olympic Committee Post Office distributed a commemorative franking on an official envelope, whilst the Olympic Committee Post Office also applied a commemorative mechanical post-marking on the official postcard .
On 30th April 1960, to celebrate the inauguration of the Olympic Velodrome, a special Post Office was set up close to the Velodrome on a bus kindly supplied by the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro. Here a commemorative post-marking on double-format postcard was applied .
On 3rd 1960, the inauguration of Palazzo dello Sport was marked by the distribution of a commemorative mechanical stamping by the Post Office of the Olympic Committee on a postcard of double format .
This same Office was responsible for the application of the commemorative post-marking on the occasion of the opening of the Regatta Course at Lake Albano, on 21st August 1960 .
The success of the first edition of sticker labels, showing the symbol of the Games, suggested the idea of a further issue in series of 12 languages similar to the first but with the reproduction of the official poster of the Games .
On 23rd May 1960, the series of 14 commemorative stamps issued by the Republic of San Marino were mounted on 4 postcards of international philatelic format with the reproduction of the symbol of the Games .

The "First Day of Issue"

Pending the issue of the Italian series of Olympic commemorative stamps, arrangements were made for the publication of a giant size postcard with the reproduction of the official poster which would take the complete series of 9 values. The franking machine in possession of the Organizing Committee's Post Office was used for the " first day of issue " .
The issue of the series of commemorative Olympic stamps made it possible to draw up a programme for the celebration of the Games. This programme also included the commemoration of the Olympic Torch and commemoration of the XVII Olympiad .
In connection with the Olympic Torch, two issues were planned which were entirely due to the enthusiastic and kind collaboration of the General Directorate of Greek Postal Services and the Italian Ministry of Marine .
The aerogram celebrating the lighting of the Torch at Olympia, bearing a Greek commemorative postmarking produced by the Greek Postal Services, was flown back with the return of the Organizing Committee's Olympic mission .
The second issue was composed of the commemorative leaflet depicting the " route of the torch " on Greek territory. Collected at Phaleros by a ship's officer, it was transported on the Training Ship " Amerigo Vespucci " which carried the Flame from Olympia .
On board the " Vespucci ", the leaflet was postmarked in transit with the stamp belonging to the ship .
The Italian Admiralty then placed a helicopter at the disposal of the Olympic Committee which collected this philatelic correspondence in the Mediterranean some 30 miles from Syracuse .
This unusual event was commemorated by a special cancellation thus conferring on the leaflet the prerogative of philatelic correspondence having " travelled " by helicopter .
The commemoration of the Olympic phase proper was covered by a series of 33 postcards, for the publication of which use was made of the blocks  already prepared for the entrance tickets into the various venues where the Games were held .
Each card was franked with one value of the series of pre-Olympic stamps appropriate to the sport or ceremony to which each referred .
The postmarkings all bore the Olympic symbol and the words: " Games of the XVII Olympiad – Rome " .
Within the Olympic framework and in anticipation of the decision of the I.O.C. to include philately within the art-categories admitted to the Olympic Games, an exhibition-competition of Olympic stamps – coupled with the exhibition of sports photography – was organized in the halls of the Palazzo dello Sport in collaboration with the periodical " Sports-Phila". 61 competitors, representing 21 countries, took part in this competition .
The examination of the material submitted, which was of great philatelic and sports value, was extremely laborious. In the end, the jury assigned first place to Capt. Carlo Condarelli (Italy) who received the Alberto Bonacossa Trophy. Second place went to Mr. Ira Seebacher (United States), third to Mr. Raymond Depover (Belgium), and fourth to Prof. Eugenio Rappaport (Brazil) .
In the single classes, prizes of importance were also awarded to Messrs .
Juan A. Samaranch Torello (Spain), José M. Auset Guardia (Spain), Giuseppe Bertasso (Italy), Walther Von Adelson (Switzerland), Egidio Pennati (Italy), Hermann Bollhardt (Germany), Rene Azzaletti (Switzerland), Aziz K. Versan (Turkey), Ernst Naetzold (D.D.R.), Gunther Schneider (Germany), Carl Olof Enhagen (Sweden), Olle Cronsjö (Sweden), Jean Schmit-Mousel (Luxembourg), and Sandro Audino (Italy) .

Religious assistance

The fact of religion, being as it is so personal and subjective a matter, more often than not defies checking and reporting. It is for this reason that we shall confine our remarks to outside initiatives and leave out the many and significant facts that the respect owed to each and every faith and the right of everyone to his own privacy prompts one to do. The same goes for all those secrets which will remain closed in the hearts of the confidents chosen by the athletes .
The subjects which we will cover, therefore, are confined to two fields only, namely, the adoption of necessary initiatives to allow the athletes to fulfil their own religious obligations; the organisation of audiences with His Holiness the Pope, thus seconding an explicit desire of the vast majority of the athletes themselves .
In connection with this second field, it in fact became very clear indeed that the desire to see the Pope sprung not from individual ties with the various religions but also from the general interest of those concerned .
Once set up, the Office for Religious Assistance, directed by Mons. Nicola Pavoni, considered as its first duty the contacting of the representatives of as many religions and cults as was possible, thus ensuring that the athletes, through the Office itself, were provided with all news of a religious nature considered of interest .
In fact, once the Organizing Committee had decided against the authorization of the official institution of places of worship within the Olympic Village, the obvious alternative was to keep athletes informed of the location of existing churches in Rome and of the relevant timetables of services .
To this end, arrangements were made for formal invitations to be sent out all those responsible for religions and cults present at Rome, giving assurance at the same time that it would be the specific task of the Office to inform athletes of whatever news was received .
The invitation was in effect addressed, among others, to the following non-Catholic religious institutions: the President of the Italian Jewish Communities and of the Jewish Community at Rome, the Archimandrite of the Russian Orthodox Church, the President of the Federal Council of the Evangelical Churches which includes, to name only a few, the Lutheran Evangelical Church, the Italian Methodist Evangelical Church, the Waldensian Evangelical Church, the Italian Union of the Adventist Churches, etc .
Within a short period of time, the Office for the Religious Assistance received numerous communications in connection with either the cult itself or of a general religious nature. All the material was translated into various languages and brought to the attention of the guests of the Olympic Village by being posted up on a special board prepared by the Organizing Committee for this purpose or by direct distribution to individuals through a special service organized for communications of general interest. The young athletes were thus provided not only with informative leaflets on the cult but with all published material of a religious nature reaching the Office. All this was in strict accordance with the Olympic Regulations which lay down that all cults and religions should receive equal attention .
Furthermore, direct contacts were established between the representatives of the various cults or religions and the Head of the Office, Monsignor Nicola Pavoni, on special subjects and projects and every possible attempt was made to satisfy the specific requests of individuals or groups of athletes on questions or requirements connected with their religion .

The Papal audiences

The most outstanding achievement of the Office for Religious Assistance was to obtain the granting by His Holiness, Pope John XXIII, of general and private audiences, an activity which was widely acclaimed and which met with general approval. These Audiences had been asked for by many and both the Organizing Committee and public opinion judged them to be an undoubted element of prestige and moral strength .
Lastly, it should be remembered, especially in connection with the great Audience in St. Peter's Square, that the Olympic Regulations do foresee,  during the Opening Ceremony and immediately after the lighting of the cauldron, the possibility of holding a religious service without speaking of the advisability of paying a courtesy visit to the spiritual head of the city where the Games are held .
Already in April 1959, when he received the congressists of the Italian Sports Centre, His Holiness had made clear his intention of receiving, on the occasion of the " important event ", the athletes participating in the Games .
As the date of the Games approached, the Office for Religious Assistance established contacts with the appropriate organizational and technical bodies of the Vatican for discussion and agreement on details of the complex  organization. Arrangements were made for the preparation of stands and special barriers, for the transportation of athletes and the taking of measures necessary to ensure the orderly arrival and departure of the athletes and the large public which would be present .
At the same time, the various departments of the Organization prepared invitations which were sent out to: Members of the I.O.C., officials of Olympic Committees and the C.O.N.I., Olympic attaches, accredited journalists, heads of international delegations, and all the athletes .
On the eve of the Audience, August 23rd 1960, 3,830 athletes from 72 nations had accepted to take part, but when the Audience actually took place, it was obvious that a considerably larger number of athletes were present, having come either with the 100 motor coaches already laid on or with their own transport .
The Holy Father appeared in St. Peter's Square at 17.30 hrs. on the 24th August to the deafening applause of the vast crowd gathered in the Square and to the notes of the ancient Olympic Hymn played by the Band of the Palatine Guard. Immediately afterwards, the Hon. Andreotti, President of the Organizing Committee of the Games, directed an address of homage in Latin to the Holy Father in which, referring to the cordial welcome extended by Pope Pius X to Baron de Coubertin, he expressed the feelings of homage and gratitude of the Organizing Committee and all those present. In addition, in the name of all the officials and athletes, he begged the Holy Father to pronounce a few words which would solemnize the event and in order that " eademque verba fore gratae memoriae causam, quibus laetum hoc concordiae, iuventutis ac ludicri agonis festum exornatur, quod Roma elato effusoque gaudio celebratura est" .
The Pope then graciously pronounced a fatherly speech in Latin which he addressed to the officials and athletes and in which he referred once more to the encouragement given to Baron Pierre de Coubertin by Saint Pius X. He stressed his pleasure at having left Castelgandolfo in order to greet the " compact and valiant ranks of athletes ". He went on to say that it was not possible for him to wish for the victory of any particular individual or group reminding all of the words of Baron de Coubertin that the importance was the event and not the victory: " Non enim palma in stadio proposita, sed recta corporis exercitatio potior aestimanda est". He then referred to the great benefits of sport to body and soul which he listed as " sanitas, vigor, membrorum agilitas, gratia, pulchritudo, ad corpus quod attinet; quod ad animum, constantia, fortitudo, sui abnegandi consuetudo " .
Immediately at the end of the Pope's speech, the speakers of the Vatican Radio gave a summary of the text in French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Russian, Polish, Hungarian, Rumanian, Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic. At the same time, the Olympic Officials present at the ceremony were presented to the Holy Father. Immediately afterwards, a delegation of athletes representing the five continents (Pierpaolo Spangaro, Italy; Leslie Claudius, India; Aye Adjavon, Liberia; Jesus Gruber, Venezuela and Ivan Lund, Australia) offered gifts from the Organizing Committee to His Holiness .
First, a small statue of Saint Giovanni Bosco, work of the sculptor Pietro Canonica from whom it was requested shortly before his death. Second, an edition of an ode in elegant Latin verse, with miniatures inspired by the Olympic Games, composed by the Latin scholar, Father Vittorio Genovesi S. J .
on the invitation by the Provincial Tourist Board to celebrate the Rome Games .
On 29th August 1960, a private Audience was arranged for the Members of the International Olympic Committee and was held in the Swiss Room in the Palace at Castelgandolfo. The distinguished group, headed by the President of the I.O.C., Avery Brundage, included almost all the Members accompanied by their respective wives, the President of the Organizing Committee of the Games, the Hon. Andreotti and the President of the C.O.N.I., Mr. Onesti .
After presenting the members of the Executive Board of the I.O.C. to the Holy Father, President Brundage pronounced a brief address of homage and gratitude, in English, to the Pope, concluding with the words " Since the aim of the Olympic movement is not so much to encourage the winning of medals or the conquering of records but to develop health and character and thereby finally arrive at an easier and more peaceful world, I can assure Your Holiness that your encouragement to the Olympic movement is well placed" .
The Holy Father replied to the address with a noble speech in French .
Taking as his theme the moving memory of the Audience granted to the athletes, to " cette belle jeunesse, vibrante de vie et d'enthousiasme ", he stated that the highest significance of the Audience lay in the search for one word which could unite all irrespective of colour, race, or creed and openly declared that he intended above all to stress his " cordiale approbation á ce désir universel de collaboration plus généreuse de tous les peuples en vue du véritable bien-être et de la défense des valeurs humaines ". He then remarked that the words of Baron de Coubertin: " Ce qui importe n'est pas de vaincre, mais de participer aux Jeux ", reminded him of the doctrine of St. Paul " Ne savez-vous pas que dans le courses du stade, tous courent, mais un seul remporte le prix ? Courez donc de maniére á remporter tous quelque chose de plus haut et de plus durable qu'une couronne périssable ". Confirming once again his own happiness at the thought of the Olympic activity taking place at that time in Rome, he requested the Members of the I.O.C. to " renouveler aux jeunes athlétes—dont la présence sur la Place Saint Pierre demeure un des plus heureux souvenirs de cette année—nos voeux de bon succés dans les Jeux qui se déroulent et d'heureux développements de leurs activités d'hommes dans l'avenir " .
His speech concluded with the Apostolic Blessing and immediately afterwards Mr. Brundage presented the individual International Delegates to the  Holy Father with the Hon. Andreotti, the Vice-president of the I.O.C., the Marquis of Exeter, Count Thaon de Revel and Marquis Ekelund standing close beside the Papal Throne. The Pope was then presented with a case containing the gold and silver medals coined for the winners in the Olympic competitions. His Holiness, in turn, offered each of those present a medal especially executed by the sculptor Giacomo Manzù, bearing the effigy of His Holiness in cape and cap on one side and, on the other, a flowering olive tree with the wording " Oboedientia et Pax " .
The illustrious guests were then invited to accompany the Pope through a number of rooms in the Palace of Castelgandolfo and then to a terrace overlooking Lake Albano where the rowing competitions were in progress .
On 7th September, an Audience was granted to Officials of National Olympic Committees and International Sports Federations who had expressed their heartfelt desire to be received by the Holy Father. On this occasion, the sacred hangings for the Church to be erected in the Olympic Village quarter were offered to the Pope. And thus ended the official events organized by the Office for Religious Assistance to the athletes participating in the Games of the Rome Olympiad where the Olympic spirit, in its widest sense, found true ground for respect and exhaltation also in the religious sphere.