| Event type

200 metres, Women

Date29 – 30 November 1956
LocationMelbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Victoria
Participants27 from 12 countries

In September 1956, Betty Cuthbert broke the world record with a time of 23.2. In the preliminaries she ran the fastest time in both round one and the semi-finals. The final was an easy victory for Cuthbert, the “Golden Girl,” who had won the 100 four days prior. Her winning mark of 23.55 was considered an early version of the auto-timed world record for 200 metres. She would add a third gold medal by anchoring the relay for Australia.

Cuthbert competed at the 1960 Olympics but was injured and not at her best. She later turned to the 400 metres and won the gold medal in that event at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the first time it was ever contested for women. Cuthbert remains, through 2016, the only person to win Olympic golds in the 100, 200, and 400 metres.

1468Betty CuthbertAUS23.5 (1 h1)23.6 (1 h1)23.4 (1)GoldWR
2484Christa StubnickGER24.5 (1 h3)23.9 (2 h1)23.7 (2)Silver
3470Marlene MathewsAUS24.0 (1 h6)24.3 (2 h2)23.8 (3)Bronze
4511Norma CrokerAUS24.9 (2 h3)24.3 (3 h1)24.0 (4)
5486June PaulGBR23.8 (1 h4)24.2 (1 h2)24.3 (5)
6482Gisela KöhlerGER24.4 (2 h2)24.3 (3 h2)24.3 (6)
4 h1 r2/3518Mariya ItkinaURS24.1 (1 h2)24.3 (4 h1)
4 h2 r2/3487Heather ArmitageGBR24.8 (1 h5)24.7 (4 h2)
5 h1 r2/3513Jean ScrivensGBR24.3 (2 h6)24.4 (5 h1)
5 h2 r2/3504Mae FaggsUSA24.9 (2 h1)24.8 (5 h2)
6 h1 r2/3500Barbara LerczakPOL24.8 (2 h5)25.2 (6 h1)
6 h2 r2/3519Vera YugovaURS24.9 (2 h4)24.9 (6 h2)
3 h1 r1/3473Diane MathesonCAN25.7 (3 h1)
3 h2 r1/3517Wilma RudolphUSA24.6 (3 h2)
3 h3 r1/3491Giuseppina LeoneITA25.6 (3 h3)
3 h4 r1/3514Letizia BertoniITA25.2 (3 h4)
3 h5 r1/3512Simone HenryFRA25.0 (3 h5)
3 h6 r1/3481Inge FuhrmannGER24.7 (3 h6)
4 h1 r1/3502Mary KlassSGP26.3 (4 h1)
4 h2 r1/3515Genowefa MinickaPOL25.0 (4 h2)
4 h3 r1/3516Meredith EllisUSA26.3 (4 h3)
4 h4 r1/3471Claudette MasdammerGUY25.4 (4 h4)
4 h5 r1/3472Eleanor HaslamCAN25.3 (4 h5)
4 h6 r1/3480Micheline FluchotFRA24.9 (4 h6)
5 h1 r1/3489Maeve KyleIRL26.4 (5 h1)
5 h5 r1/3520Olga KoshelevaURS25.3 (5 h5)
5 h6 r1/3474Maureen ReverCAN26.1 (5 h6)
DNS479Catherine CapdevielleFRA– (DNS h3)
DNS493Annie ChoongMAL– (DNS h2)
DNS499Maria KusionPOL– (DNS h4)

Round One (29 November 1956 — 15:20)

Top two in each heat advanced to the semi-finals.

Heat One

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
14Betty CuthbertAUS23.523.60Q
23Mae FaggsUSA24.924.99Q
32Diane MathesonCAN25.725.86
41Mary KlassSGP26.326.37
55Maeve KyleIRL26.426.57

Heat Two

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
11Mariya ItkinaURS24.124.31Q
24Gisela KöhlerGER24.424.53Q
32Wilma RudolphUSA24.624.83
43Genowefa MinickaPOL25.025.19
DNS5Annie ChoongMAL

Heat Three

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
15Christa StubnickGER24.524.58Q
23Norma CrokerAUS24.925.10Q
34Giuseppina LeoneITA25.625.77
42Meredith EllisUSA26.326.46
DNS1Catherine CapdevielleFRA

Heat Four

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
14June PaulGBR23.824.00Q
25Vera YugovaURS24.925.13Q
32Letizia BertoniITA25.225.33
41Claudette MasdammerGUY25.425.73
DNS3Maria KusionPOL

Heat Five

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
15Heather ArmitageGBR24.824.87Q
24Barbara LerczakPOL24.824.99Q
33Simone HenryFRA25.025.13
42Eleanor HaslamCAN25.325.27
51Olga KoshelevaURS25.325.48

Heat Six

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
12Marlene MathewsAUS24.024.16Q
25Jean ScrivensGBR24.324.27Q
34Inge FuhrmannGER24.725.05
43Micheline FluchotFRA24.925.12
51Maureen ReverCAN26.126.17

Semi-Finals (29 November 1956 — 17:50)

Top three in each heat advanced to the final.

Heat One

PosNrAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
1468Betty CuthbertAUS23.623.75Q
2484Christa StubnickGER23.924.17Q
3511Norma CrokerAUS24.324.41Q
4518Mariya ItkinaURS24.324.42
5513Jean ScrivensGBR24.424.66
6500Barbara LerczakPOL25.225.12

Heat Two

PosNrAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
1486June PaulGBR24.224.36Q
2470Marlene MathewsAUS24.324.42Q
3482Gisela KöhlerGER24.324.48Q
4487Heather ArmitageGBR24.724.78
5504Mae FaggsUSA24.825.06
6519Vera YugovaURS24.925.12

Final (30 November 1956 — 17:15)

PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
15Betty CuthbertAUS23.423.55WR
26Christa StubnickGER23.723.89
31Marlene MathewsAUS23.824.10
43Norma CrokerAUS24.024.22
52June PaulGBR24.324.30
64Gisela KöhlerGER24.324.68