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Preparations Well Under Way For 1960 Olympic Games

ROME is taking no chances. Already, when we are so much nearer to the recent Olympiad at Melbourne than the 1960 Games which will be held in Rome, preparations are well under way. 
On a recent visit to Rome, I was impresed by the result of my inquiries. It seems almost certain that long before 1960, Rome will [[bo st   an]] Olympic village and splendid stadia. The only doubts involve the capacity of the city to cope with the hosts of tourists and spectators which will descend upon it. 
In the first place, the magnificent Olympic stadium has long been built. I was present at its inauguration in May, 1953, when Italy played an international football match against the Hungarians.
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Circular and gleaming white, it stands just outside the city proper be eath Monte Marlo. There is ample room on its slopes for over 100,000 spectators, and an immense advantage is its accessibility and facility of exits. 
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It is designed in such a way that the crowd leaves it from an infinity of different doors and stairways, and accustomed to such arenas as Wembley stadium, I had never dreamt that getting to and from a great sports stadium could be made so pleasant and easy. One is scarcely aware even of the largest crowd outside the stadium itself. 

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Special Hockey Field

In the lee of the Olympic stadium stands the Foro Italico, where work is already in progress on a series of smaller enclosures. In the marble stadium (Stadio Di Marmo) a special hockey field is being laid, whose grass will take two years to knit. 
The Stadio Torino, scene of the historic World Cup soccer final of 1934, won by Italy, is being torn down to make room for a more ample arena. Work will begin any day on a velodromo, or cycling arena, a palazetto dello sport (literally, a small palace of sport) is being completed near the Foro Italico, and a splendid new stadium for swimming is under way, with three large pools, one for diving, one for swimming and one for training. Another building, already inaugurated, will be used for fencing and the relevant congresses. It has already harboured the world fencing championships.
The Olympic village has already been planned, but its eventual whereabouts is a closely kept secret. Coni, the Italian National Olympic Committee, who are in charge of the Games, are anxious that the ground they want will not fall into the hands of speculators. They will buy it at the last possible moment. The man in charge of this immense building programme is Dr. Saini, who filled a similar role at Cortina, for the winter Olympics of 1955, and with considerable success. 
At Aquacetosa, outside the city, a so-called "city of sport" has been laid down, with abundant fields for hockey [and football?]. Both before and after the Games, this will be available for the youth of the city. And in 1959, the Olympic stadia, tracks and pitches will have a thorough testing, for Rome is then due to stage world university games. 
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As one Roman newspaper has triumphantly announced: "Never in the history of the Olympics have the stadia been promised for so early a date."
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But all is not sweetness and light. There are still serious doubts whether Rome will be able to deal with the thousands of sports fans who will throng to Italy from all over the world. At present, the total capacity of the city does not stretch beyond a mere 25,000 tourists, and for the Olympic fortnight at least 275,000 are expected. 

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Plans Put Forward

Where will they all be harboured? Various plans have been put forward, but the serious thing is that neither the Municipality of Rome, the tourist office, nor the Association of Roman Hoteliers really seems to have buckled down to the problem. All three are being lashed by the Roman Press, and there seems a good possibility that they will bestir themselves in time. 
It has been suggseted in the first place, that Rome should follow the example of Melbourne, conducting a campaign to persuade its citizens to take in guests. This worked exeedingly well in Melbourne, but as one who knows Rome, I have serious doubts whether it would work as happily there. The Roman is not, by and large, inclined to throw open the doors of his house to strangers; indeed he has been described by an Italian writer as "a ferocious family loving animal". If the Roman Municipality does plan such a campaign it had better start it soon. 
Secondly, it has been suggested that unoccupied luxury flats should be taken over by the Hoteliers for the occasion, giving beds for another 100,000 a likelier solution to the gravest problem of the 1960 Olympiad.


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