On September 2, 1974, the European Athletics Championships in Rome, the second edition held in Italy after Turin 1934 and the last one held in Italy, began. Through Sept. 8 at the Olympic Stadium, filled with thousands of spectators and sold out at the most significant moments of the competition, a total of 39 competitions (24 men’s and 15 women’s) were held, with 745 athletes representing 29 nations.
Great protagonist for Italy was Pietro Mennea, who won the gold medal in the 200 meters and the silver medal in the 100 meters, also being decisive for the second place of the Italian 4×100 relay team. In the women’s high jump it was Sara Simeoni who gave the home crowd great excitement, winning the bronze medal.
For the fourth consecutive edition it was East Germany that finished as the top nation in the medal table, with 10 golds and 27 medals overall. The three world records broken during Rome 1974 were all set by German athletes: Rosemarie Witschas in the high jump, Ruth Fuchs in the javelin throw and the women’s 4×100-meter relay.
Fifty years after the 1974 European Championships, Rome and the Olympic Stadium are preparing to host the Rome 2024 European Championships next summer to write another indelible page in the history of international athletics.