There were innovations and there were shocks, but the flip side of an upset is usually a remarkable achievement. There were plenty of those, and one tragedy.
The death of the Danish cyclist Knud Enemark Jensen was the second fatality in Games history, the first since 1912 and the first to have a drugs link, with tests showing Jensen had taken amphetamines.
But fears for the wellbeing of women at the Games were eased as, for the first time in 32 years, the organisers allowed them to run distances of more than 200m and they all completed the 800m challenge unscathed.
17-year-old German Ingrid Kramer wins diving goldLyudmila Lisenko won the gold for the Soviet Union and they added five more in women's track and field, but they had no answer to Wilma Rudolph. A polio sufferer who was unable to walk properly until she was 11, Rudolph had won bronze at 16 as part of the United States 4 x 100m relay team in Melbourne.
In Rome she sprinted to gold in the 100m, 200m and the relay — the only three track and field uccesses for the United States women.
Their men fared rather better but failed to win a sprint gold for the first time since 1908. They had won one or other of the 100m and 200m at every Games since 1908, with the exception of 1928 when the Canadian Percy Williams did the double and the Americans settled for relay gold.
But in Rome the local hero Livio Berruti won the 200m and the German Armin Hary took the 100m before helping his team to the relay gold, with the Americans disqualified for problems with baton changes.
In the swimming pool only Great Britain's Anita Lonsborough disrupted the domination of the United States and Australia, taking gold in the 200m breaststroke. The Americans won nine of the 15 gold medals, with three for Chris von Saltza. But von Saltza was beaten to gold in the 100m freestyle by Dawn Fraser, who also won two silvers. And Fraser's compatriot Murray Rose concluded his Olympic swimming career with a gold, silver and bronze.
In sailing Paul Elvstrøm won a fourth consecutive gold for Denmark in the one person dinghy and Crown Prince Konstantinos won gold with the Greek team in the mixed three person keelboat.
The boxing arenaIn fencing, two great careers came to an end. Edoardo Mangiarotti of Italy won a gold and silver to take his total number of medals to 13, including six golds, from an Olympic career that began in 1936. Aladár Gerevich started even earlier, with gold for Hungary in the team sabre at Los Angeles in 1932. In winning the event again in Rome, at the age of 50, he took his total to 10 medals, including seven golds.
Soviet gymnasts Boris Shakhlin and Larisa Latynina built on their success in Melbourne with seven and six medals respectively.
And appropriately for the first Games to receive widespread TV coverage, there was a heavyweight boxing gold medal for Cassius Clay, now Muhammad Ali, who reportedly informed world champion Floyd Patterson: "Hey Floyd, I seen you! Someday I'm gonna whup you! Don't you forget, I am the greatest!"
1-Soviet Union - Won 15 of 16 possible medals in the women's gymnastics - only Czecholslovakia's Eva Bosakova broke the monopoly.
2-Abebe Bikila (ETH) - Became the first black African Olympic champion when he won the marathon bare-footed for Ethiopia.
3-Pakistan - Claimed their first Olympic gold in the hockey, ending India's run of six consecutive golds.
Did you know?
South Africa made its last Olympic appearance before being excluded over its apartheid regime. It returned in 1992.
Greece's sailing team contained the future King Constantine II, and Pricess Sofia who is now Queen of Spain.
Turkey finished a surprising sixth in the medal table. All nine of their medals, inclduing seven golds, came in wrestling.