Olympics and History of the Modern Games Italy and Melbourne Australia 1956 Part 1

About the olympics and the modern games, account of the games in Italy and Melbourne, Australia in 1956.


Popular hero of these games was Toni Sailer, 20-year-old Austrian from the village of Kitzbuhel, who drank a mixture of milk, sugar, and honey at breakfast for extra strength, and wine at lunch and dinner for relaxation. After Anderl Molterer, "The White Blitz from Kitz," covered the 1.7-mi. giant slalom in a best time of 3 minutes 6.3 seconds, Sailer, "The Younger Blitz from Kitz," bettered that by 6 seconds. Sailer also won the special 2-run slalom over treacherous conditions which took a toll of 28 skiers. He went on to appear as a romantic lead in a German film, and make a big-selling record.

The Russians, who had shunned the 1952 Winter games, brought out the most powerful team, winning 6 gold medals and 121 points. Evgeni Grishin, a Moscow engraver who had competed as a cyclist at Helsinki, won 2 speed-skating events. Ice hockey had never been played in Russia before W.W. II, but the Soviets took 1st, with the U.S. 2nd, and Canada 3rd. Hayes Alan Jenkins and Tenley Albright won figure-skating titles.


Tensions grew out of world events before the November games. In the Midwest, Israel, aided by Great Britain and France, marched into the Gaza Strip; in Europe, Russian tanks rolled into Badapest to crush the Hungarian revolt. At the time, 17 Hungarian athletes were en route to Australia aboard a Soviet steamship; the rest of the team, assembled in Czechoslovakia awaiting a flight to Melbourne, considered returning home to fight. But the border was sealed, so, reluctantly, fearing for families and friends, the Hungarians decided to compete. The British team helped provide clothes, pocket money, and even spikes and swimming trunks. Afterward, 45 Hungarians chose to remain in the West, including distance running ace Laszlo Tabori.

Egypt, Lebanon, and Iraq withdrew, protesting the Israeli invasion. Spain, Switzerland, and The Netherlands withdrew because of Russia's rape of Hungary. The Red Chinese quit because Olympic officials had mistakenly raised the Nationalist Chinese flag over their camp.

Although East and West Germany participated as a single team, the cold war was a major influence. A Russian journal later charged that Russian athletes had been under constant pressures of corruption by agents of the U.S. which, it said, "did its utmost to force upon Soviet athletes an acquaintance with young women."

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