Athletics at the 1956 Summer Olympics

Dates 23 November – 1 December 1956
Medal Events 33

The Melbourne Olympics were the first Games held in the Southern Hemisphere and were held at the end of November, and finished in December. Athletics was conducted at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds. The stars of the Games were both sprinters. Bobby Joe Morrow won the 100, 200, and anchored the 4x100 relay for the United States. But receiving most of the acclaim was his female counterpart, Betty Cuthbert, of the host nation, who duplicated his feat in winning three gold medals. Vladimir Kuts of the USSR won the first gold medal for a male athlete from that nation, doubling in the 5 and 10K. On the field Al Oerter won the first of four consecutive gold medals in the discus throw. His teammate, Hal Connolly, won the hammer throw in a highly anticipated battle against Soviet Mikhail Krivonosov, who placed second. During the 1956 Olympics, Connolly also met Czech discus thrower Olga Fikotová, and they began a romance that ended with them marrying later in 1957. Emil Zátopek served as best man at the wedding in Praha.

Events

Event Status Date Participants NOCs
100 metres, Men Olympic 23 – 24 November 1956 65 31
200 metres, Men Olympic 26 – 27 November 1956 67 32
400 metres, Men Olympic 28 – 29 November 1956 43 23
800 metres, Men Olympic 23 – 26 November 1956 38 24
1,500 metres, Men Olympic 29 November – 1 December 1956 37 22
5,000 metres, Men Olympic 26 – 28 November 1956 23 13
10,000 metres, Men Olympic 23 November 1956 25 15
Marathon, Men Olympic 1 December 1956 46 23
110 metres Hurdles, Men Olympic 27 – 28 November 1956 24 15
400 metres Hurdles, Men Olympic 23 – 24 November 1956 28 18
3,000 metres Steeplechase, Men Olympic 27 – 29 November 1956 23 13
4 x 100 metres Relay, Men Olympic 30 November – 1 December 1956 72 18
4 x 400 metres Relay, Men Olympic 30 November – 1 December 1956 61 15
20 kilometres Walk, Men Olympic 28 November 1956 21 10
50 kilometres Walk, Men Olympic 24 November 1956 21 10
High Jump, Men Olympic 23 November 1956 28 19
Pole Vault, Men Olympic 24 – 26 November 1956 19 12
Long Jump, Men Olympic 24 November 1956 32 21
Triple Jump, Men Olympic 27 November 1956 32 20
Shot Put, Men Olympic 28 November 1956 14 10
Discus Throw, Men Olympic 27 November 1956 20 15
Hammer Throw, Men Olympic 24 November 1956 22 14
Javelin Throw, Men Olympic 26 November 1956 21 12
Decathlon, Men Olympic 29 – 30 November 1956 15 8
100 metres, Women Olympic 24 – 26 November 1956 34 16
200 metres, Women Olympic 29 – 30 November 1956 27 12
80 metres Hurdles, Women Olympic 27 – 28 November 1956 22 11
4 x 100 metres Relay, Women Olympic 1 December 1956 36 9
High Jump, Women Olympic 1 December 1956 19 12
Long Jump, Women Olympic 27 November 1956 19 11
Shot Put, Women Olympic 30 November 1956 18 9
Discus Throw, Women Olympic 23 November 1956 22 12
Javelin Throw, Women Olympic 28 November 1956 19 12
720 (573/147) 59 (59/27)

Medals

Event Gold Silver Bronze
100 metres, Men Bobby Joe MorrowUSA Thane BakerUSA Hec HoganAUS
200 metres, Men Bobby Joe MorrowUSA Andy StanfieldUSA Thane BakerUSA
400 metres, Men Charlie JenkinsUSA Karl-Friedrich HaasGER Voitto Hellstén
Ardalion Ignatyev
FIN
URS
800 metres, Men Tom CourtneyUSA Derek JohnsonGBR Audun BoysenNOR
1,500 metres, Men Ronnie DelanyIRL Klaus RichtzenhainGER John LandyAUS
5,000 metres, Men Vladimir KutsURS Gordon PirieGBR Derek IbbotsonGBR
10,000 metres, Men Vladimir KutsURS József KovácsHUN Al LawrenceAUS
Marathon, Men Alain MimounFRA Franjo MihalićYUG Veikko KarvonenFIN
110 metres Hurdles, Men Lee CalhounUSA Jack DavisUSA Joel ShankleUSA
400 metres Hurdles, Men Glenn DavisUSA Eddie SouthernUSA Josh CulbreathUSA
3,000 metres Steeplechase, Men Chris BrasherGBR Sándor RozsnyóiHUN Ernst LarsenNOR
4 × 100 metres Relay, Men United StatesUSA Soviet UnionURS Unified Team of GermanyGER
4 × 400 metres Relay, Men United StatesUSA AustraliaAUS Great BritainGBR
20 kilometres Walk, Men Leonid SpirinURS Antanas MikėnasURS Bruno JunkURS
50 kilometres Walk, Men Norman ReadNZL Yevgeny MaskinskovURS John LjunggrenSWE
High Jump, Men Charlie DumasUSA Charles PorterAUS Igor KashkarovURS
Pole Vault, Men Bob RichardsUSA Bob GutowskiUSA Georgios RoubanisGRE
Long Jump, Men Greg BellUSA John BennettUSA Jorma ValkamaFIN
Triple Jump, Men Adhemar da SilvaBRA Vilhjálmur EinarssonISL Vitold KreyerURS
Shot Put, Men Parry O'BrienUSA Bill NiederUSA Jiří SkoblaTCH
Discus Throw, Men Al OerterUSA Fortune GordienUSA Des KochUSA
Hammer Throw, Men Hal ConnollyUSA Mikhail KrivonosovURS Anatoly SamotsvetovURS
Javelin Throw, Men Egil DanielsenNOR Janusz SidłoPOL Viktor TsybulenkoURS
Decathlon, Men Milt CampbellUSA Rafer JohnsonUSA Vasily KuznetsovURS
100 metres, Women Betty CuthbertAUS Christa StubnickGER Marlene MathewsAUS
200 metres, Women Betty CuthbertAUS Christa StubnickGER Marlene MathewsAUS
80 metres Hurdles, Women Shirley Strickland de la HuntyAUS Gisela KöhlerGER Norma ThrowerAUS
4 × 100 metres Relay, Women AustraliaAUS Great BritainGBR United StatesUSA
High Jump, Women Millie McDanielUSA Thelma Hopkins
Mariya Pisareva
GBR
URS
Long Jump, Women Elżbieta KrzesińskaPOL Willye WhiteUSA Nadezhda DvalishviliURS
Shot Put, Women Tamara TyshkevichURS Galina ZybinaURS Marianne WernerGER
Discus Throw, Women Olga FikotováTCH Irina BeglyakovaURS Nina Romashkova-PonomaryovaURS
Javelin Throw, Women Inese JaunzemeURS Marlene AhrensCHI Nadezhda KonyayevaURS

Medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
United States USA 16 10 5 31
Soviet Union URS 5 7 10 22
Australia AUS 4 2 6 12
Great Britain GBR 1 4 2 7
Poland POL 1 1 0 2
Norway NOR 1 0 2 3
Czechoslovakia TCH 1 0 1 2
Brazil BRA 1 0 0 1
France FRA 1 0 0 1
Ireland IRL 1 0 0 1
New Zealand NZL 1 0 0 1
Germany GER 0 5 2 7
Hungary HUN 0 2 0 2
Chile CHI 0 1 0 1
Iceland ISL 0 1 0 1
Yugoslavia YUG 0 1 0 1
Finland FIN 0 0 3 3
Greece GRE 0 0 1 1
Sweden SWE 0 0 1 1