1956 Summer Olympics

Last updated

Games of the XVI Olympiad
1956 Summer Olympics logo.svg
Host city Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Nations72
Athletes3,314 (2,938 men, 376 women)
Events151 in 17 sports (23 disciplines)
Opening22 November
Closing8 December
Opened by
Cauldron
Stadium Melbourne Cricket Ground
Summer
Helsinki 1952 Rome 1960
Winter
Cortina 1956 Squaw Valley 1960

The 1956 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XVI Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event that was held in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia from 22 November to 8 December 1956, with the exception of the equestrian events, which were held in Stockholm, Sweden in June 1956.

A multi-sport event is an organized sporting event, often held over multiple days, featuring competition in many different sports among organized teams of athletes from (mostly) nation-states. The first major, modern, multi-sport event of interna. Most have the same basic structure. Games are held over the course of several days in and around a "host city", which changes for each competition. Countries send national teams to each competition, consisting of individual athletes and teams that compete in a wide variety of sports. Athletes or teams are awarded gold, silver or bronze medals for first, second and third place respectively. The games are generally held every four years, though some are annual competitions.

Melbourne City in Victoria, Australia

Melbourne is the capital and most populous city of the Australian state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Its name refers to an urban agglomeration of 2,080 km2 (800 sq mi), comprising a metropolitan area with 31 municipalities, and is also the common name for its city centre. The city occupies much of the coastline of Port Phillip bay and spreads into the hinterlands towards the Dandenong and Macedon ranges, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley. It has a population of 5 million, and its inhabitants are referred to as "Melburnians".

Victoria (Australia) State in Australia

Victoria is a state in south-eastern Australia. Victoria is Australia's smallest mainland state and its second-most populous state overall, making it the most densely populated state overall. Most of its population lives concentrated in the area surrounding Port Phillip Bay, which includes the metropolitan area of its state capital and largest city, Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city. Victoria is bordered by Bass Strait and Tasmania to the south, New South Wales to the north, the Tasman Sea, to the east, and South Australia to the west.

Contents

These Games were the first to be staged in the Southern Hemisphere and Oceania, as well as the first to be held outside Europe and North America. Melbourne is the most southerly city ever to host the Olympics. Due to the Southern Hemisphere's seasons being different from those in the Northern Hemisphere, the 1956 Games did not take place at the usual time of year, because of the need to hold the events during the warmer weather of the host's spring/summer (which corresponds to the Northern Hemisphere's autumn/winter).

Southern Hemisphere part of Earth that lies south of the equator

The Southern Hemisphere is the half of Earth that is south of the Equator. It contains all or parts of five continents, four oceans and most of the Pacific Islands in Oceania. Its surface is 80.9% water, compared with 60.7% water in the case of the Northern Hemisphere, and it contains 32.7% of Earth's land.

Oceania Geographic region comprising Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia

Oceania is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the eastern and western hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of 8,525,989 square kilometres (3,291,903 sq mi) and a population of 40 million. Situated in the southeast of the Asia-Pacific region, Oceania, when compared to continental regions, is the smallest in land area and the second smallest in population after Antarctica.

The Olympic equestrian events could not be held in Melbourne due to Australia's strict quarantine regulations, so they were held in Stockholm five months earlier. This was the second time that the Olympics were not held entirely in one country, the first being the 1920 Summer Olympics, which were held in Antwerp, Belgium, with some events taking place in Ostend, Belgium and Amsterdam, Netherlands. Despite uncertainties and various complications encountered during the preparations, the 1956 Games went ahead in Melbourne as planned and turned out to be a success. The enduring tradition of national teams parading as one during the closing ceremony was started at these Olympics.

Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service

The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) was the Australian government agency responsible for enforcing Australian quarantine laws, as part of the Department of Agriculture.

1920 Summer Olympics games of the VII Olympiad, celebrated in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1920

The 1920 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the VII Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event in 1920 in Antwerp, Belgium.

Ostend Municipality in Flemish Community, Belgium

Ostend is a coastal city and municipality, located in the province of West Flanders, Belgium. It comprises the boroughs of Mariakerke, Raversijde, Stene and Zandvoorde, and the city of Ostend proper – the largest on the Belgian coast.

Several teams boycotted the Games in protest of the IOC's rejection to suspend the USSR after their invasion of Hungary.

Host city selection

Melbourne was selected as the host city over bids from Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Montreal and six American cities on 28 April 1949, at the 43rd IOC Session in Rome, Italy. [2]

Buenos Aires Place in Argentina

Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina. The city is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the South American continent's southeastern coast. "Buenos Aires" can be translated as "fair winds" or "good airs", but the former was the meaning intended by the founders in the 16th century, by the use of the original name "Real de Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Ayre". The Greater Buenos Aires conurbation, which also includes several Buenos Aires Province districts, constitutes the fourth-most populous metropolitan area in the Americas, with a population of around 15.6 million.

1956 Summer Olympics bidding results [3]
CityCountryRound 1Round 2Round 3Round 4
Melbourne Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 14181921
Buenos Aires Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 9121320
Los Angeles Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg  United States 545
Detroit Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg  United States 244
Mexico City Flag of Mexico (1934-1968).svg  Mexico 93
Chicago Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg  United States 1
Minneapolis Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg  United States 1
Philadelphia Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg  United States 1
San Francisco Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg  United States 0
Montreal Canadian Red Ensign (1921-1957).svg  Canada 0

Prelude

Many members of the IOC were sceptical about Melbourne as an appropriate site. Its location in the Southern Hemisphere was a major concern since the reversal of seasons would mean the Games must be held during the northern winter. The November–December schedule was thought likely to inconvenience athletes from the Northern Hemisphere, who were accustomed to resting during their winter. [ citation needed ]

Northern Hemisphere Half of Earth that is north of the equator

The Northern Hemisphere is the half of Earth that is north of the Equator. For other planets in the Solar System, north is defined as being in the same celestial hemisphere relative to the invariable plane of the solar system as Earth's North Pole.

Notwithstanding these concerns, the field of candidates eventually narrowed to two Southern Hemisphere cities, these being Melbourne and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Melbourne was selected, in 1949, to host the 1956 Olympics by a one-vote margin. The first sign of trouble was the revelation that Australian equine quarantine would prevent the country from hosting the equestrian events.[ citation needed ] Stockholm was selected as the alternative site, so equestrian competition began on 10 June, five and a half months before the rest of the Olympic Games were to open.

The above problems of the Melbourne Games were compounded by bickering over financing among Australian politicians. Faced with a housing shortage, the Premier of Victoria (Henry Bolte) refused to allocate money for the Olympic Village (eventually sited in Heidelberg West), and the country's Prime Minister (Robert Menzies) barred the use of federal funds. [ citation needed ]

At one point, IOC President Avery Brundage suggested that Rome, which was to host the 1960 Games, was so far ahead of Melbourne in preparations that it might be ready as a replacement site in 1956.

As late as April 1955, Brundage was still doubtful about Melbourne and was not satisfied by an inspection trip to the city. Construction was well under way by then, thanks to a $4.5 million federal loan to Victoria, but it was behind schedule. He still held out the possibility that Rome might have to step in.

By the beginning of 1956, though, it was obvious that Melbourne would be ready for the Olympics. [4]

Participation and boycotts

Countries boycotting the 1956 Games are shaded blue 1956 Summer Olympics (Melbourne) boycotting countries (blue).png
Countries boycotting the 1956 Games are shaded blue

Egypt, Iraq, and Lebanon announced that they would not participate in the Olympics in response to the Suez Crisis when Egypt was invaded by Israel, the United Kingdom, and France.

The Netherlands, Cambodia, Spain, and Switzerland boycotted the event in protest at the Soviet Union presence in light of their recent crushing of the Hungarian Revolution.

The People's Republic of China chose to boycott the event because the Republic of China had been allowed to compete.

Although the number of countries participating (67) was almost the same as in 1952 (69), the number of athletes competing dropped sharply, from 4,925 to 3,342. (This figure does not include the 158 athletes from 29 countries who took part in the Stockholm equestrian competition.)

Events

Once underway, the Games progressed smoothly, and came to be known as the "Friendly Games". Betty Cuthbert, an 18-year-old from Sydney, won the 100 and 200 metre sprint races and ran an exceptional final leg in the 4 x 100 metre relay to overcome Great Britain's lead and claim her third gold medal. The veteran Shirley Strickland repeated her 1952 win in the 80 metre hurdles and was also part of the winning 4 x 100 metre relay team, bringing her career Olympic medal total to seven: three golds, a silver, and three bronze medals.

Australia also triumphed in swimming. They won all of the freestyle races, men's and women's, and collected a total of eight gold, four silver and two bronze medals. Murray Rose became the first male swimmer to win two freestyle events since Johnny Weissmuller in 1924, while Dawn Fraser won gold medals in the 100 metre freestyle and as the leadoff swimmer in the 4 x 100 metre relay team.

The men's track and field events were dominated by the United States. They not only won 15 of the 24 events, they swept four of them and took first and second place in five others. Bobby Morrow led the way with gold medals in the 100 and 200 metre sprints and the 4 x 100 metre relay. Tom Courtney barely overtook Great Britain's Derek Johnson in the 800 metre run, then collapsed from the exertion and needed medical attention.

Ireland's Ronnie Delany ran an outstanding 53.8 over the last 400 metres to win the 1,500 metre run, in which favourite John Landy of Australia finished third.

There was a major upset, marred briefly by controversy, in the 3,000 metre steeplechase. Little-known Chris Brasher of Great Britain finished well ahead of the field, but the judges disqualified him for interfering with Norway's Ernst Larsen, and they announced Sándor Rozsnyói of Hungary as the winner. Brasher's appeal was supported by Larsen, Rozsnyói, and fourth-place finisher Heinz Laufer of Germany. Subsequently, the decision was reversed and Brasher became the first Briton to win a gold medal in track and field since 1936.

Only two world records were set in track and field. Mildred McDaniel, the first American woman to win gold in the sport, set a high jump record of 1.76 metres (5.8 ft), and Egil Danielsen of Norway overcame blustery conditions with a remarkable javelin throw of 85.71 metres (281.2 ft).

Throughout the Olympics, Hungarian athletes were cheered by fans from Australia and other countries. Many of them gathered in the boxing arena when thirty-year-old Laszlo Papp of Hungary won his third gold medal by beating José Torres for the light-middleweight championship.

A few days later, the crowd was with the Hungarian water polo team in its match against the Soviet Union which took place against the background of the Soviet invasion of Hungary. The game became rough and, when a Hungarian was forced to leave the pool with a bleeding wound above his eye, a riot almost broke out. The police restored order and the game was called early, with Hungary leading 4–0, and the Hungarians went on to win the gold medal.

In a much publicized Olympic romance, American hammer throw champion Hal Connolly would marry Czechoslovak discus throw champion, Olga Fikotová. After moving to the United States, Olga wanted to continue representing Czechoslovakia, but the Czech Olympic Committee would not allow her to do so. [5] Thereafter, as Olga Connolly, she took part in every Olympics until 1972 [5] competing for the U.S. [6] She was the flag bearer for the U.S. team at the 1972 Summer Olympics.

Despite the international tensions of 1956—or perhaps because of them—a young Melburnian, John Ian Wing, came up with a new idea for the closing ceremony. Instead of marching as separate teams, behind their national flags, the athletes mingled together as they paraded into and around the arena for a final appearance before the spectators. It was the start of an Olympic tradition that has been followed ever since. [7]

Highlights

During the Games there will be only one nation. War, politics and nationalities will be forgotten. What more could anybody want if the world could be made one nation.
—Extract from a letter by John Wing to the Olympic organisers, 1956

Olympic torch relay

Torch relay monument, Cairns 1956 Olympic Torch relay Cairns.JPG
Torch relay monument, Cairns

The Olympic flame was relayed to Melbourne after being lit at Olympia on 2 November 1956.

While the Olympic flame was being carried to Sydney, an Australian veterinary student named Barry Larkin carried a fake Olympic Flame and fooled the mayor of Sydney. [8]

Sports

The 1956 Summer Olympics featured 17 different sports encompassing 23 disciplines, and medals were awarded in 151 events (145 events in Melbourne and 6 equestrian events in Stockholm). [9] In the list below, the number of events in each discipline is noted in parentheses.

Demonstration sports

Venues

The heritage registered former Olympic Pool (now the Holden Centre), viewed from the Yarra River Melbourne olmpic pool (lexus centre).jpg
The heritage registered former Olympic Pool (now the Holden Centre), viewed from the Yarra River
Ballarat
Melbourne
Stockholm

Participating National Olympic Committees

Participating countries, those making their debut are shown in blue. 1956 Summer Olympic games countries.png
Participating countries, those making their début are shown in blue.
Number of athletes per country 1956 Summer olympics team numbers.gif
Number of athletes per country

A total of 67 nations competed in the 1956 Olympics. Eight countries made their Olympic debuts: Cambodia (only competed in the equestrian events in Stockholm), Ethiopia, Fiji, Kenya, Liberia, Federation of Malaya, North Borneo (modern-day Sabah of Malaysia), and Uganda. Athletes from East Germany and West Germany competed together as the United Team of Germany, an arrangement that would last until 1968.

For the first time, the team of Republic of China effectively represented only Taiwan.

Five nations competed in the equestrian events in Stockholm, but did not attend the Games in Melbourne. Egypt did not compete in Melbourne due to the Suez Crisis, whilst the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland all boycotted the Melbourne Olympics in protest at the Soviet invasion of Hungary. [10]

Participating National Olympic Committees
NOCs that participated in the equestrian events in Stockholm, but did not attend the Games in Melbourne:

Medal count

These are the top ten nations that won medals at the 1956 Games.

RankNationGoldSilverBronzeTotal
1Flag of the Soviet Union (1955-1980).svg  Soviet Union 37293298
2US flag 48 stars.svg  United States 32251774
3Flag of Australia.svg  Australia*1381435
4Flag of Hungary (1946-1949, 1956-1957).svg  Hungary 910726
5Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 88925
6Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 85619
7Flag of Germany.svg  United Team of Germany 613726
8Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain 671124
9Flag of Romania (1952-1965).svg  Romania 53513
10Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg  Japan 410519
Totals (10 nations)128118113359
Key

  *   Host nation (Australia)

See also

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This is the full table of the medal table of the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia and Stockholm, Sweden. These rankings sort by the number of gold medals earned by a country. The number of silvers is taken into consideration next and then the number of bronze. If, after the above, countries are still tied, equal ranking is given and they are listed alphabetically. This follows the system used by the IOC, IAAF and BBC.

The equestrian events at the 1956 Summer Olympics were held in Stockholm due to the Australian quarantine regulations and included dressage, eventing, and show jumping. All three disciplines had both individual and team competitions. The competitions were held from 11 to 17 June 1956 at Stockholm Olympic Stadium. There were 159 entries from 29 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Soviet Union, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, USA and Venezuela. This would be the first appearance for Australia, Cambodia and Venezuela in equestrian events.

Venezuela at the 1956 Summer Olympics

Venezuela competed at the 1956 Summer Olympics held in Melbourne, Australia, and in the equestrian events held in Stockholm, Sweden. 22 competitors, all men, were selected by the Comité Olímpico Venezolano to take part in 16 events in 5 sports. This was the first and one of the only three times a Venezuelan equestrian representation were sent to a Summer Olympic Games. Venezuela will not send any other equestrian team until 1988 Summer Olympics. Also these games were the second time of a total of four that Venezuelan women will not compete in any events at the Summer Olympics.

Canada at the Summer Olympics

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Spain at the Olympics

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Olga Gyarmati was a Hungarian all-round track and field athlete who competed at three Olympic Games in four different events. Her greatest success was winning the inaugural Olympic Women's Long Jump competition in London in 1948. Additionally, she won two Universiade gold medals and a number of Hungarian Athletics Championships titles in sprint and jumping events.

Germany at the 1912 Summer Olympics

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Netherlands at the Olympics country entered in olympic games

The Netherlands first sent athletes to the Olympic Games in 1900, and has participated in almost all Games since then with the exception of 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis. In 1956, the nation boycotted the Games in Melbourne as a protest against the Soviet invasion in Hungary just a few weeks before the beginning of the Games.

Combined events at the Olympics

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References

  1. 1 2 "Factsheet - Opening Ceremony of the Games of the Olympiad" (PDF) (Press release). International Olympic Committee. 13 September 2013. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 August 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  2. "Ioc Vote History". Aldaver.com. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  3. "Past Olympic host city election results". GamesBids. Archived from the original on 24 January 2011. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  4. Wendy Lewis, Simon Balderstone and John Bowan (2006). Events That Shaped Australia. New Holland. pp. 212–217. ISBN   978-1-74110-492-9.
  5. 1 2 Duguid, Sarah (9 June 2012). "The Olympians: Olga Fikotová, Czechoslovakia". Financial Times Magazine .
  6. Pat McCormick. sports-reference.com
  7. Text of John Ian Wing's letter, page found 28 June 2011.
  8. Turpin, Adrian (8 August 2004). "Olympics Special: The Lost Olympians (Page 1)". The Independent. Archived from the original on 13 April 2008. Retrieved 6 April 2008.
  9. IOC site for the 1956 Olympic Games
  10. "Melbourne – Stockholm 1956: (ALL FACTS)". IOC . Retrieved 1 October 2018.
Preceded by
Helsinki
Summer Olympic Games
Melbourne/Stockholm

XVI Olympiad (1956)
Succeeded by
Rome