Mexico City – 50 Aniversario Mexico 68

  • Olympic City: Mexico City
  • Country: Mexico
  • Edition of the Games: 1968 Summer Olympic Games
100th Anniversary
No official website

Act III – Denouement

Legacy of the Celebrations

Linking Past, Present and Future 

7 venues were refurbished and 3 new were open:

Olympic venues that have been used for 50 years would not have had the chance to be uplifted without the anniversary due to the need for public resources. It was also a platform to accelerate the construction of 3 new venues that promote other Olympic sports included in the Tokyo 2020 programme and will prepare the competing athletes and develop future Olympians.

Celebrations allowed to strengthen social cohesion and link to the local territory and local population. It played a role in transforming the communities. Collecting memories from the Games’ actors also contributed to generating social cohesion.

The anniversary was also the perfect framework to celebrate the national athletes. The Mexico 1968 is up to today, the best medal result for Mexico in the Olympic Games. However, medallists were not properly recognised and their triumph was lost in memory.

The celebrations allowed the city and the NOC to give them proper recognition and connect past and present, dedicating a Plaza within the Magdalena Mixhuca Sports Complex to their achievements.

The Plaza is located in front of the Fencing Olympic Hall, in the main entrance of the Sports Complex, just besides the Olympic rings spectacular, giving it great visibility to share the message with a larger number of people.

History & Story

A historical moment in the spotlight

The Olympic Games Mexico 1968 were full of Olympic firsts and iconic moments, many of which, were celebrated during the 50th anniversary. The Legends programme aimed at giving tribute to exceptional athletes from 1968, and through them to honour all athletes.  The Legends attended a variety of activities including a media tour, 1968 venues visit, sports clinics with the local communities as well as their participation in the anniversary main festivities. Many of them were coming back to Mexico City for the first time after the Games, giving a unique energy to the experience.

Zoom on an (extra)ordinary story

In 1968 the Olympic cauldron was lit for the very first time by a woman, Enriqueta Basilio; 50 years later and despite physical impediments that she was facing, she went up and re-lit the cauldron once more. It was a very special moment during the anniversary since it didn’t only celebrate the event, but it also reminded everyone of the focal role of women in sport. To learn more about Enriqueta Basilio, the woman who changed paradigms, read the annexed text!

A another short inspiring story, in the field of sport spirit, is worth being told. It was shared by Maria del Pilar Roldan (MEX fencing). She could have won the gold medal since her opponent Elena Belova (BLR fencing) did not show up on time. According to the rules, she was entitled to win by default; but she decided to wait for Elena and compete, stating that she preferred a silver medal that she got competing than a gold that she didn’t win.

Feedback Section

Key Challenges


Initially, the Anniversary celebrations had a comprehensive budget that came mainly from the local government (tourism fund) and some sponsors (TOP programme local branches and others

Unfortunately, collaboration between the city and the IOC began late in the city’s planning process (2 months before the start of the celebrations) impacting the plans that were already made. Due to the restrictions related to the association with Olympic properties, many of the proposed events could no longer be part of the celebrations and the scope and budget of the anniversary programme was largely reduced.

Also, the possibility of generating other sources of funding, like a licensing programme or sponsorships, was highly limited due to the IOC programmes in place.

Nevertheless, the IOC did great efforts to facilitate other type resources to make the most of the anniversary.


There was not a specific success evaluation, but  the outcomes of the celebrations relate to the following:

  • Number of organised events (sports and culture)
  • Number of participating National Sports Federations
  • Number of refurbished/built sports infrastructure
  • Media coverage


Mexico City underwent political changes by the end of 2018 and the continuity of the vision is still unknown. Nevertheless, the infrastructure is still used for sports and physical activation purposes which continue to celebrate the legacy of the Games.

Regarding replicability, the format of the celebrations is highly replicable, to include sports, cultural and protocolary events as well as celebration of iconic moments.

Also, the Athletes programme could be something that could be replicated and has a large storytelling potential.

Mexico 68 Celebrations may hopefully ease the way for next celebrations regarding the dialogue, negotiations and joint collaboration with the IOC.


More information

The full case is available in printable version on the members’ portal

In addition to the above description, the PDF version also gathers practical information including internal and external partners involved; finance and cost; use of the olympic brand; human resources and time; and contact details. 

The World Union of Olympic Cities’ team remains at your disposal for any further information and contact’s facilitation at 

Additional resources can be found through the following links: