|Competition type||Olympic Games|
|Host city||Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy (Venues)|
|Opening ceremony||26 January|
|Closing ceremony||5 February|
|Competition dates||26 January – 5 February|
|OCOG||Comitato organizzatore dei VII. Giochi olimpici invernali 1956|
|Participants||821 from 32 countries|
|Medal events||24 in 8 disciplines|
Cortina d’Ampezzo was awarded the 1956 Olympic Winter Games in 1949, with the bid led by the Italian IOC member Count Alberto Bonacossa. Unfortunately, Count Bonacossa never saw the fruits of his efforts, dying in January 1953. But his plans were carried out, and Cortina held a marvelous Olympics. The sites were very centralized which made for few logistical traffic problems, as is often the case in the mountain resorts usually used for Winter Olympics. Only the speed skating events were held outside Cortina, on Lake Misurina, about 11 miles from the center of the town.
Politically, the 1956 Cortina Games marked the first time that the Soviet Union competed at the Olympic Winter Games, although they had competed in 1952 at Helsinki. The Soviets immediately excelled at speed skating and, in an upset, began their domination of ice hockey when they defeated the Canadians. Germany entered a single combined team from West and East Germany, at the request of the IOC.
The Cortina Olympics began ominously when the torch bearer at the opening ceremonies, speed skater Guido Caroli, tripped over a microphone wire and fell. However, he was not harmed and the torch did not go out. After that initial difficulty, the Games were a wonder. A woman, skiier Giuliana Chenal-Minuzzo, spoke the oath of the athlete’s at the opening ceremony for the first time.
The hero of the Cortina Olympics was movie idol-handsome Toni Sailer of Austria, “The Blitz from Kitz” (Kitzbühel). Sailer won all three alpine skiing events by large margins of victory each time. In ski jumping, the Finns introduced a new aerodynamic style when they placed their arms against their sides rather than forward in front of their heads. With the new method Antti Hyvärinen and Aulis Källakorpi took first and second, respectively. The figure skating competitions saw two very close contests although Americans swept the men’s medals, with Hayes Alan Jenkins winning. Among the women, Tenley Albright barely defeated Carol Heiss. Heiss and Jenkins would later marry.
Bid voting at the 44th IOC Session in Rome on 28 April 1949.
|Colorado Springs, Colorado||United States||2|
|Lake Placid, New York||United States||1|
|Officially opened by||Giovanni Gronchi (President)|
|Torchbearer(s)||Guido Caroli (Lit flame)|
|Taker of the Athlete's Oath||Giuliana Chenal-Minuzzo|
|Alpine Skiing||Figure Skating||Ski Jumping|
|Bobsleigh||Ice Hockey||Speed Skating|
|Cross Country Skiing||Nordic Combined|
|Lamberto Dalla Costa||ITA||1||0||0||1|