1956 Summer Olympics

Games of the XVI Olympiad
1956 Summer Olympics logo.svg
Host cityMelbourne, Victoria, Australia / Stockholm, Sweden
Nations72
Athletes3,314 (2,938 men, 376 women)
Events151 in 17 sports (23 disciplines)
Opening22 November
Closing8 December
Opened by
Cauldron
StadiumMelbourne Cricket Ground
Summer
Winter

The 1956 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XVI Olympiad and commonly known as Melbourne 1956, were an international multi-sport event 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.

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) which resulted in the only summer games ever to be held in November and December. Australia did not host the Games again until 2000 in Sydney, New South Wales, and will host them again in 2032 in Brisbane, Queensland.

The Olympic equestrian events could not be held in Melbourne due to Australia's strict quarantine regulations,[2] so they were held in Stockholm five months earlier. This was the second time the Olympics were not held entirely in one country, the first being the 1920 Summer Olympics 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.

Eight teams boycotted the Games for various reasons. Four teams boycotted in response to the Suez Crisis where Egypt was invaded by Israel, France and the United Kingdom, three in response to the Soviet invasion of Hungary and one in response to the presence of the Republic of China at the Games.[3]

The Soviet Union won the most gold and overall medals for the first time in Summer Olympics history despite a controversial Water Polo match between the Soviet Union and Hungary, who are the defending champions. The Soviet Union had recently suppressed a anti-communist revolution in Hungary and violence broke out during the match between the teams, resulting in numerous injuries. The spectators attempted to join the violence after Ervin Zádor suffered bleeding after being punched by Valentin Prokopov but they were blocked by riot police. The match was cancelled, with Hungary being declared the winner as they were in the lead.

  1. ^ a b "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. ^ Tarbotton, David (12 November 2016). "Melbourne 1956 makes history as equestrian events take place in Sweden". Australian Olympic Committee. Retrieved 2 August 2021.
  3. ^ "Melbourne 1956 Summer Olympics - Athletes, Medals & Results". 24 April 2018.

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