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23 August1960
The Olympic torchbearer
Ermanno Acanfora
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"We are in Meta di Sorrento awaiting the arrival of the Olympic torch that will be carried by a boy from Sant'Agnello, Giggino. Here he is, arriving cheered on by the crowd here, waiting for the exchange of the sacred fire that passes from the hands of an athlete to the hands of another athlete who will be in charge of carrying it to the tip of Scutari where another relay will replace it'. This is how Ermanno Acanfora comments on the 8mm images he shot on 23 August 1960, the day the Olympic torch passed. Departing from Olympia on 12 August, the torch relay, after having travelled 1,863 km between Greece and Italy and having passed through the hands of 1,529 torchbearers (1,199 Italian torchbearers, selected from young people aged 18 to 23 'from all social classes'), will end at the Olympic Stadium in Rome on 25 August, for the inauguration of the Games. The Rome Olympics are an epoch-making event that will mark sporting feats that have remained in the collective memory. The Olympics are a global event but also a village festival, as can be seen here: the nineteen-year-old amateur athlete Luigi Gargiulo climbs onto the stage of the authorities, the mayor and other local notables are there, 'of course everyone is competing for him, it was a great honour for him to have carried the Olympic torch... Huge numbers of people gathered in the square in Meta and everyone is naturally celebrating the torchbearer'. For Giggino, the torchbearer is a moment of celebrity strictly limited to a few towns on the Sorrento peninsula, but no less important for that: 'Here we see him with the parish priest, surrounded by pretty girls,' Acanfora concludes; neither can miss such an appointment.