BSR Research Fellow Simon Martin has recently featured on RAI Storia as part of the RAM (Ricerca, Archivio, Memoria) series of radio programmes.
Simon’s first contribution to the series comes in episode 6, in which he discusses how football was exploited by the mayor of Naples to demonstrate his political power in the run-up to the elections of 1952.
In episode 7 we move forward eight years to the 1960 Olympics, as Simon takes us through the same journey that barefooted Ethiopian marathon competitor Abebe Bikila took through Rome on his way to winning the race – a highly poignant, yet rarely discussed event, considering that this feat came at a time when the conquest of Abyssinia by Fascist forces was still recent history.
In episode 8…the 1960 Olympics feature again. This time, the focus is on mounted carabiniere officer Raimondo d’Inzeo. Having led the charge of the mounted police force against protestors angered by the government’s decision to allow the annual congress of the neo-Fascist Movimento Sociale Italiano party in July, six weeks later he represented Italy in show jumping. Securing a gold medal, it highlighted the potential problematic relationship between military athletes and the nation.
Simon currently teaches at the American University of Rome and is a Research Fellow at the BSR. In 2012, Simon’s book Sport Italia: The Italian Love Affair with Sport won the Lord Aberdare Literary Prize, awarded by the British Society of Sports History.