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Tom D

Olympic Gold Medal

Photo By Cliff1066

Click on the play button to listen to Tom’s own podcast as you follow along!

1956 Olympic Games
November 22, 1956 is a date to remember in terms of Melbourne’s history. The Australians took home gold in many sports such as swimming, cycling and athletics, but there was many crucial turning points that happened before hand that made the Melbourne Olympics much more special.

In 1954 when the voting begun, Australia showed that they were the favourites by leading from the start and were clearly the most popular winning by 18 votes. However in 1955, many countries pulled out of the Olympics because of their own country being in war or even political issues. Also in 1955 the equestrian events were redirected to Stockholm due to quarantine issues. There was even a moment where the whole Olympics were going to be placed in another country because the construction wasn’t going to be ready. But by early 1956 it was clear that it was going to be held in Melbourne.

It was finally the opening ceremony and thanks to Phillip, Duke of Edinborough and Ron Clarke the Olympics were officially opened. The 72 nations participating got ready for what was going to be an exciting Olympics. Australia started off well with 18 year old Betty Cuthbert stealing the show by winning the 100 and 200 metre sprints.Veteran Shirley Strickland did the same thing in the 80 metre hurdles by also winning the gold. In the 4×100 metre relay the Australians overcame Great Britain to also take home the gold. Also in the athletics John Landy won bronze in his 1,500 metre race. But it wasn’t just the athletics that Australia did well in, Australia won 8 gold medals in swimming including all freestyle events.

 On December the 8th 1956 the Melbourne games were officially closed. Overall Australia won medals in Athletics, swimming, rowing, sailing, boxing, cycling and canoeing. Australia came third on the medal winning table with 13 gold, 8 silver and 14 bronze resulting in a total of 35 medals. Betty Cuthbert was known as ‘Golden Girl’ after her 3 gold medal performance and Murray Rose won 3 gold medals for swimming. For the first time Australian rules football was demonstrated at an Olympics.

There is now a monument in Cairns to mark the start of the torch relay (4594km away), the 1956 Olympic pool is now the Lexus centre, the Collingwood training centre. And where the fencing events were is now known as the St.Kilda town hall.

In conclusion there have been very few Olympics in Australia and many great athletes came from all over the world and performed. Victoria was shown to the world, the attendance was very successful and afterwards it was known as the ‘Friendly Games’. Now Australia is bidding for either the 2018 or the 2022 Olympics. The Melbourne Olympics were very special in history.

Photo By Sweet One


2 Responses

  1. good job i really like sport and i think it was a great topic to choose.

  2. It was a great! You put heaps of information in it. I learnt alot of facts that i didn’t no.

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