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Sport was starting to embrace modern techniques and this was the last Olympics run on a cinder track, while it was the final Games where a fibreglass pole was used in the Pole Vault.
South Africa was banned from the Games for the first occasion on account of the system of apartheid.
Mary Rand led the way for Britain, winning gold in the long jump and silver in the pentathlon. There were also golds for Lynn Davies (long jump), Ann Packer (800m) and Ken Matthews (20,000m walk).
Ukrainian Larysa Latynina's took her career medal haul to 18 after claiming six medals in gymnastics.
Abebe Bikila, who won the race in barefeet four years ago, became the first repeat winner of the marathon - a notable effort as it came less than six weeks after having his appendix removed. He wore a pair of trainers this time.
Featherweight freestyle wrestler Osamu Watanabe handled the pressure of being a big favourite to win gold in front of his home crowd. Watanabe did not give up a single point on his run to gold.
Bob Hayes hit the line in 10 seconds exactly to take gold in the 100m. His speed impressed the Dallas Cowboys who recruited him to play American Football.