1956 Olympics - Melbourne

Armed conflicts in Egypt and Hungary threatened to disrupt the 1956 Games, which were scheduled to begin on Nov. 22 (during the summer Down Under).

In July, Egypt seized the Suez Canal from British and French control. In October, Britain and France invaded Egypt in an attempt to retake the canal. Then in November, Soviet tanks rolled into Hungary to crush an anti-Communist revolt.

The only direct bearing these events had in Melbourne came when the Soviet water polo team met the Hungarians in the semifinals. Hungary won 4-0, but the match turned ugly after a Hungarian player was pulled bleeding from the pool with a deep gash over his eye from a Soviet head butt. A brawl quickly ensued involving both players and spectators and the police had to step in to prevent a riot.

Otherwise, the Soviets outmedaled the U.S. for the first time, cleaning up in gymnastics and winning their first track and field titles when Vladimir Kuts ran off with the 5,000 and 10,000 meters.

The American men won 15 track and field titles, including three golds for sprinter Bobby Morrow and Al Oerter's first victory in the discus.

Harold Connolly of the U.S. won the hammer throw and the heart of the women's discus champion, Olga Fikotová of Czechoslovakia. Their romance captured the imagination of the world and three months after the Games they were married.

Emil Zátopek, the Czech hero of Helsinki, returned to defend his marathon title but came in sixth. Winner Alain Mimoun of France had finished second to Zátopek three times in previous Olympic races.


Event   Time  
 100m Bobby Morrow, USA 10.5  
  Thane Baker, USA 10.5  
  Hector Hogan, AUS 10.6  
 200m Bobby Morrow, USA 20.6 OR
  Andrew Stanfield, USA 20.7  
  Thane Baker, USA 20.9  
 400m Charley Jenkins, USA 46.7  
  Karl-Friedrich Haas, GER 46.8  
  Voitto Hellsten, FIN / Ardalion Ignatiev 47.0  
 800m Tom Courtney, USA 1:47.7 OR
  Derek Johnson, GBR 1:47.8  
  Andun Boysen, NOR 1:48.1  
1500m Ron Delany, IRE 3:41.2 OR
  Klaus Richtzenhain, GER 3:42.0  
  John Landy, AUS 3:48.1  
5000m Vladimir Kuts, USSR 13:39.6 OR
  Gordon Pirie, GBR 13:50.6  
  Derek Ibbotson, GBR 13:54.4  
10,000m Vladimir Kuts, USSR 28:45.6 OR
  József Kovács, HUN 28:52.4  
  Allan Lawrence, AUS 28:53.6  
Marathon Alain Mimoun, FRA 2:25:00.0  
  Franjo Mihalic, YUG 2:26:32.0  
  Veikko Karvonen, FIN 2:27:47.0  
110m H Lee Calhoun, USA 13.5 OR
  Jack Davis, USA 13..5  
  Joel Shankle, USA 14.1  
400m H Glenn Davis, USA 50.1 =OR
  Eddie Southern, USA 50.8  
  Joshua Culbreath, USA 51.6  
Chris Brasher, GBR 8:41.2 OR
  Sándor Rozsnyói, HUN 8:43.6  
  Ernst Larsen, NOR 8:44.0  
20k Walk Leonid Spirin, USSR 1:31:27.4  
  Antonas Mikenas, USSR 1:32:03.0  
  Bruno Yunk, USSR 1:32:12.0  
50k Walk Norman Read, NZE 4:30:42.8  
  Yevgeniy Maskinskov, USSR 4:32:57.0  
  John Lundgren, SWE 4:35:02.0  
4x100m USA (Ira Murchison, Leamon King,
Thane Baker, Bobby Morrow)
39.5 WR
  Soviet Union 39.8  
  Germany 40.3  
4x400m USA (Lou Jones, Jesse
Mashburn, Charlie Jenkins,
Tom Courtney)
  Australia 3:06.2  
  Great Britain 3:07.2  
Event   Mark  
High Jump Charley Dumas, USA 6-111/2 OR
  Charles Porter, AUS 6-101/2  
  Igor Kashkarov, USSR 6-93/4  
Pole Vault Bob Richards, USA 14-111/2 OR
  Bob Gutowski, USA 14-101/4  
  Georgios Roubanis, GRE 14-9  
Long Jump Greg Bell, USA 25- 81/4  
  John Bennett, USA 25-21/4  
  Jorma Valkama, FIN 24-61/4  
Triple Jump Adhemar da Silva, BRA 53- 73/4 OR
  Vilhjálmur Einarsson, ISL 53-4  
  Vitold Kreyer, USSR 52-61/2  
Shot Put Parry O'Brien, USA 60-111/4 OR
  Bill Nieder, USA 59-71/2  
  Jiri Skobla, CZE 57-103/4  
Discus Al Oerter, USA 184-11 OR
  Fortune Gordien, USA 179-91/2  
  Desmond Koch, USA 178-51/2  
Hammer Harold Connolly, USA 207- 3 OR
  Michail Krivonosov, USSR 206-9  
  Anatoliy Samotsvetov, USSR 205-3  
Javelin Egil Danielson, NOR 281- 2 WR
  Janusz Sidlo, POL 262-4  
  Viktor Tsibulenko, USSR 260-10  
Decathlon Milt Campbell, USA 7937 pts OR
  Rafer Johnson, USA 7587  
  Vassily Kusnetsov, USSR 7465  


Event   Time  
 100m Betty Cuthbert, AUS 11.5  
  Christa Stubnick, GER 11.7  
  Marlene Matthews, AUS 11.7  
 200m Betty Cuthbert, AUS 23.4 =OR
  Christa Stubnick, GER 23.7  
  Marlene Matthews, AUS 23.8  
 80m H Shirley Strickland, AUS 10.7 OR
  Gisela Köhler, GER 10.9  
  Norma Thrower, AUS 11.0  
4x100m AUS (Shirley Strickland, Norma Croker,
Fleur Mellor, Betty Cuthbert)
44.5 WR
  Great Britain 44.7  
  United States 44.9  
Event   Mark  
High Jump Mildred McDaniel, USA 5- 91/4 WR
  Maria Pisaryeva, USSR 5-51/2  
  Thelma Hopkins, GBR 5-51/2  
Long Jump Elzbieta Krzesinska, POL 20-10 =WR
  Willye White, USA 19-113/4  
  Nadyezda Dvalishvili, USSR 19-103/4  
Shot Put Tamara Tyshkevich, USSR 54- 5 OR
  Galina Zybina, USSR 54-23/4  
  Marianne Werner, GER 51-21/2  
Discus Olga Fikotová, CZE 176- 1 OR
  Irina Beglyakova, USSR 172-41/2  
  Nina Ponomaryeva, USSR 170-8  
Javelin Inese Jaunzeme, USSR 176- 8  
  Marlene Ahrens, CHI 165-3  
  Nadyezda Konyayeva, USSR 164-111/2