• Melbourne 1956

Melbourne 1956 - Key Moments

ESPN staff
October 12, 2011
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Victor Chukarin produced a starring routine on the pommel horse to claim gold © PA Photos

The first Olympic Games to take place in the southern hemisphere and also the first to take place in different countries at different times. The Games belonged to Melbourne but strict quarantine laws preventing foreign horses from entering the country meant the equestrian events took place in Sweden.

The Soviet invasion of Hungary provoked protests and Spain, Switzerland and Netherlands refused to take part, while Egypt, Lebanon and Iraq refused to participate in protest at the Suez crisis. And on top of that, the People's Republic of China pulled out because of the presence of the Taiwan team.

There were positives, though, as the IOC persuaded East and West Germany to compete together in one team (EUA).

Elizabeth 'Betty' Cuthbert won gold in the 100m and 200m and 4x100m relay and was instantly acclaimed as a national heroine for Australia.

The USA's NBA stars dominant the modern game of basketball and it was the same in 1956 as they won each of their matches by at least 30 points on their way to gold.


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