| Event type

Sprint, Men

Date3 – 6 December 1956
LocationOlympic Park Velodrome, Melbourne, Victoria
Participants18 from 18 countries
Format1,000 metres.

Earlier in the year, Michel Rousseau (FRA) had won the sprint World Championships and was favored in Melbourne. The 1955 and 1956 runner up Jorge Batiz (ARG) was not in Melbourne. Future World Champion in the event (1958-59), Valentino Gasparella, was in Melbourne but did not contest the sprint, riding only the team pursuit. Nineteen riders started the event. Six first round heats followed by six repêchages qualified 12 riders for the quarter-finals. From the quarter-finals onward, all matches were best two of three races. The semi-finals came down to Rousseau, Italian Guglielmo Pesenti, and two riders from Oceania. In the first heat, Rousseau defeated New Zealander Warren Johnston easily in two straight races. The second heat had Pesenti and Dick Ploog (AUS). They split the first two races, and in the decider, Ploog took the lead on the last back straight as they started the sprint. He swept down inside Pesenti who passed him quickly, and Ploog stood up. But he did not raise his hand for a protest, and did not actually finish the course on the track. However, the Australian team manager protested that Pesenti had cut Ploog off when he passed him. Later that evening, the commissaries ruled in Pesenti’s favor, but Australia appealed again and it was not until the next morning that the final ruling came back that there had been no foul. In the final, Rousseau won comfortably in two straight races, with 11.4 his 200 metre time for each race, equaling the Olympic record both times. Rousseau was again amateur sprint World Champion in 1957 and then turned professional. In 1958 he won the professional world title, and was runner-up in 1959 and 1961 to the redoubtable Antonio Maspes (ITA).

1Michel RousseauFRAGold
2Guglielmo PesentiITASilver
3Dick PloogAUSBronze
4Warren JohnstonNZL
=5Jack DisneyUSA
=5Ladislav FoučekTCH
=5Boris RomanovURS
=5Tommy ShardelowRSA
2 h1 r3/5Evrard GodefroidBEL
2 h2 r3/5Anésio ArgentonBRA
2 h1 r2/5Shazada Muhammad Shah-RukhPAK
2 h2 r2/5León MejíaCOL
2 h3 r2/5Hylton MitchellTTO
2 h4 r2/5Hernán MasanésCHI
3 h1 r2/5Lê Văn PhươcVNM
3 h3 r2/5Fred MarkusCAN
3 h4 r2/5Keith HarrisonGBR
3 h5 r1/5Paul NymanFIN1
DNSGünther ZieglerGER

Round One (3 December 1956 — 14:30)

Winner of each heat advanced to the quarter-finals. Eight fastest losers advanced to the repêchage.

Heat One

1Dick PloogAUS11.4Q
2Evrard GodefroidBELat 1 lengthq
3Lê Văn PhươcVNM2

Heat Two

1Michel RousseauFRA11.6Q=OR
2Hylton MitchellTTOat 5 lengthsq
3Shazada Muhammad Shah-RukhPAKq

Heat Three

1Jack DisneyUSA13.0Q
2Keith HarrisonGBRat ½ length
3León MejíaCOLq3
DNSGünther ZieglerGER4

Heat Four

1Guglielmo PesentiITA11.8Q
2Hernán MasanésCHIat 8 lengthsq
3Fred MarkusCAN

Heat Five

1Ladislav FoučekTCH12.4Q
2Warren JohnstonNZLq
3Paul NymanFIN5

Heat Six

1Boris RomanovURS12.4Q
2Tommy ShardelowRSAq
3Anésio ArgentonBRAq

Round One Repêchage (3 December 1956)

Winner of each heat advanced to the repêchage final races. Winner of repêchage final heats advanced to the quarter-finals.

Heat One

1Evrard GodefroidBELno timeQ
2Shazada Muhammad Shah-RukhPAK

Heat Two

1Tommy ShardelowRSA12.8Q
2León MejíaCOL

Heat Three

1Anésio ArgentonBRA13.0Q6
2Hylton MitchellTTO
3Fred MarkusCAN7

Heat Four

1Warren JohnstonNZL12.4Q
2Hernán MasanésCHI
3Keith HarrisonGBR8

Final Heat One

1Warren JohnstonNZL12.0Q
2Evrard GodefroidBELat 1 length

Final Heat Two

1Tommy ShardelowRSA12.6Q
2Anésio ArgentonBRAinches behind

Quarter-Finals (4 December 1956 — 20:00)

Best two of three races. Winner of each heat advanced to the semi-finals.

Heat One

1Michel RousseauFRA2Q
2Tommy ShardelowRSA0

Heat Two

1Dick PloogAUS2Q9
2Jack DisneyUSA0

Heat Three

1Guglielmo PesentiITA2Q
2Ladislav FoučekTCH0

Heat Four

1Warren JohnstonNZL2Q
2Boris RomanovURS1

Semi-Finals (4 December 1956)

Best two of three races. Winner of each heat advanced to the final.

Heat One

1Michel RousseauFRA2Q
2Warren JohnstonNZL0

Heat Two

1Guglielmo PesentiITA2Q10
2Dick PloogAUS111

Final Round (6 December 1956 — 20:00)

Best two of three races.

Match 1/2 (20:00)

1Michel RousseauFRA2
2Guglielmo PesentiITA0

Match 3/4

1Dick PloogAUS2
2Warren JohnstonNZL0