1956 Equestrian Olympics

Facts

Competition type Olympic Games
Host city Stockholm, Sweden (Venues)
Opening ceremony 10 June
Closing ceremony 17 June
Competition dates 11 – 17 June
OCOG Organizing Committee for the Equestrian Games of the XVIth Olympiad
Participants 158 from 29 countries
Medal events 6 in 3 disciplines

Overview

After the IOC awarded the Games of the XVIth Olympiad to Melbourne in Victoria, Australia they learned that Australian quarantine laws required a six-month quarantine period for horses entering the country. As the six-month quarantine made it impractical for competitors’ horses to be transported to Australia, this precluded Melbourne from being able to host the equestrian events at the 1956 Olympic Games. It was decided, actually in violation of the Olympic Charter, to contest separate Equestrian Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden, from 10 through 17 June 1956. At the 50th IOC Session in Athens on 13 May 1954, Stockholm was chosen to host the Equestrian Olympics over Paris, France; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Berlin, Germany; and Los Angeles, California, USA. The 1956 Equestrian Games were held without major political incidents, although some would occur a few months later and affect the Games in Melbourne in November. The Opening Ceremony was quite unusual as all competitors came in on their mounts, including the flag bearers. Hans Wikne brought the Olympic Flame into the stadium on horseback and lit the main torch. Karin Lindberg and Henry Eriksson held lighted torches, ran towards the stadium tower with the torches and lit flames there. Sweden’s Henri Saint Cyr recited the Oath of the Athletes while on his horse, and later won two gold medals in individual and team dressage. This was matched by Germany’s Hans Günter Winkler, who won gold medals in the individual and team show jumping events.

Women competed in the equestrian events, as they had in 1952. Women had competed in 1952 only in dressage while at Stockholm there were female competitors in both dressage and jumping events, but not yet eventing. The only controversy of the 1956 Equestrian Games came in the three-day event when one horse broke his leg and had to be destroyed. The SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) was very upset and a lengthy debate followed.

Bid process

Bid voting at the 50th IOC Session in Athens on 13 May 1954.

Round 1
Stockholm Sweden 25
Paris France 10
Rio de Janeiro Brazil 8
Berlin Germany 2
Los Angeles, California United States 2

Ceremonies

Officially opened by Gustaf VI Adolf, King of Sweden (King)
Torchbearer(s) Hans Wikne (Lit flame), Karin Lindberg
Taker of the Athlete's Oath Henri Saint Cyr
Flagbearers Full list

Medal Disciplines

Equestrian Dressage Equestrian Eventing Equestrian Jumping

Medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Sweden SWE 3 0 0 3
Germany GER 2 3 1 6
Great Britain GBR 1 0 2 3
Italy ITA 0 2 1 3
Denmark DEN 0 1 0 1
Canada CAN 0 0 1 1
Switzerland SUI 0 0 1 1

Most successful competitors

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Henri Saint Cyr SWE 2 0 0 2
Hans Günter Winkler GER
FRG
2 0 0 2
Frank Weldon GBR 1 0 1 2
Gustaf Adolf Boltenstern, Jr. SWE 1 0 0 1
Bertie Hill GBR 1 0 0 1
Petrus Kastenman SWE 1 0 0 1
Alfons Lütke Westhues GER 1 0 0 1
Gehnäll Persson SWE 1 0 0 1
Laurence Rook GBR 1 0 0 1
Fritz Thiedemann GER 1 0 0 1

All medalists at these Games