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Sir Rols

Melbourne '56 Commemorations

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It looks like the wheels are rolling to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Melbourne Games in November:

MELBOURNE, Sep 5 AAP - More than 300 veteran Olympians from around the world have confirmed they will be in Melbourne for this year's golden anniversary celebrations of the 1956 Melbourne Games.

The centrepiece of the celebrations will be a ceremony at the MCG commemorating Australia's first Olympics which will be preceded by an exhibition ``Melbourne 50 Years On''.

Organisers say representatives of almost all the 67 competing nations will be present.

``It looks like being as many as 320 - we had a reply the other day from an athlete from Iceland who was here in `56,'' said organiser Nadia Streat.

Olympians Club of Australia president Leon Wiegard said the golden anniversary would reinforce international recognition of Melbourne as one of the great sporting cities in the world.

``This recognition had its fouondations in the `56 Olympics and it was reflected again in the Commonwealth Games,'' Wiegard said.

He said the anniversary provided Victoria and Melbourne with the opportunity to have a ``50 year look at itself'' and acknowledge its international standing.

The highlight of 10 days of celebrations will be the MCG ceremony on November 19 with a commemorative dinner on November 22, the day in 1956 the Games began.

AAP

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It looks like the wheels are rolling to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Melbourne Games in November:

wow 50 years! im sure there will be meny kiwi olympians heading accross the ditch to take in the celebrations

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MELBOURNE, Sept 29 AAP - A major Melbourne road could be renamed Olympic Boulevard in honour of the 50th anniversary of Melbourne's Olympic Games.

A Melbourne City Council planning committee meeting will next week consider renaming as Olympic Boulevard a stretch of Swan Street between Punt Road and Alexandra Avenue.

Swan Street passes through Melbourne's sporting precinct and past the Olympic Park stadium, built as a training venue for Olympic athletes, and the Lexus Centre, an indoor sports centre that originally housed the 1956 Olympic pool.

The proposal was put forward by the Victorian Olympic Council and the Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust.

Lord Mayor John So said he supported the plan.

``Melbourne is the sporting capital of the universe - the only city to host the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, FINA World Championships and, hopefully, one day we will host a World Cup,'' Mr So said in a statement.

The proposal has the support of local clubs and organisations such as Melbourne Victory, the Collingwood Football Club, the Victorian Institute for Sport and Tennis Australia.

Melbourne will celebrate the 50th of the Olympic Games held in the Victorian capital in November 1956.

AAP

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MELBOURNE, Sept 29 AAP - A major Melbourne road could be renamed Olympic Boulevard in honour of the 50th anniversary of Melbourne's Olympic Games.

A Melbourne City Council planning committee meeting will next week consider renaming as Olympic Boulevard a stretch of Swan Street between Punt Road and Alexandra Avenue.

Swan Street passes through Melbourne's sporting precinct and past the Olympic Park stadium, built as a training venue for Olympic athletes, and the Lexus Centre, an indoor sports centre that originally housed the 1956 Olympic pool.

Honestly can't see the point of this

The Olympic Park complex will not much longer represent anything involved with the 56 Olympics

Once the Athletics Stadium is torn down in a year or so, the only thing left from 1956 will be the old exterior shell of the Lexus Centre/Glasshouse which used to be the swimming pool (and itself hasn't been a swimming pool for 30 plus years)

Anything Olympic sould be linked with the MCG (which itself still has the Olympic Stand as a reminder)

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The 50 Years Commemorations are kicking into full gear here now _ there's a big event planned at the MCG this weekend.

And then ther'e this interesting snippet _ maybe Ron's still a bit sore from being singed way back then on opening day:

By Daniel Pace

GOLD COAST, Nov 16 AAP - Fifty years after lighting the Olympic flame in Melbourne as a starry-eyed teenager, former distance runner Ron Clarke maintains that the honour should have gone to Marjorie Jackson.

``I was selected to do that and I think wrongly,'' said Clarke, who is now mayor of the Gold Coast.

``I think Marjorie Jackson should've done it. She would've been virtually the first woman torch-bearer.

``She was the world champion, world record-holder and Olympic gold medallist who had just retired.

``It was something that I fluked.''

Jackson, known as the Lithgow Flash, won two gold medals at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics and later that year lowered the 100m world record time to 11.4 seconds.

She was finally given her time in the sun at the 2000 Sydney Olympics when she was one of the eight bearers of the Olympic flag at the opening ceremony.

Clarke remembers the roar of the crowd at the MCG in 1956 as he held the torch aloft.

``The noise that came around was like the final kick in a grand final,'' said the Australian Rules fan, who was 19 at the time.

``I would've much rather have been out there competing and marching and watching someone else carry the torch.

``But the next best honour is to be involved in the ceremony so it's something I very much appreciate.''

Clarke set 17 world records during his career but never won an Olympic gold medal, although he did win bronze in the 10,000m at the 1964 Tokyo Games.

Melbourne was the first time the Olympics would burn him but not the last.

``It sparked and spluttered,'' he recalled about the specially-made Olympic torch.

``I didn't notice but the magnesium had dropped all over my shirt and shorts.

``I hadn't seen myself in the mirror so I looked down and my shirt was burnt to smithereens.

``It looked like I was a brave little boy but it was just a few hairs singed.''

Clarke, 69, said it was a great honour to light the Olympic flame but it wasn't the highlight of his life.

He lists marriage, breaking world records and watching his brother Jack lead Essendon to the 1965 VFL premiership as the moments to savour.

AAP

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Well, it was 50 years ago today that the Olympic Cauldron was first lit in Australia.

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Ron Clarke lights the Cauldron at the MCG in 1956

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Ron Clarke at the MCG, 2006

Edited by roltel

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Didn't he trip or something and/or the flame died out in a day or so?

Not to my knowledge. Rather, his big story is he was singed badly. The organisers wanted the flame to burn spectacularly when it enetered the MCG, so they mixed the fuel with magnesium, which ended up popping and sputtering and generally raining sparks down on him as he lapped the stadium and gave him some nasty burns. if you seee film of the event you can see the torch raining sparks down and all over him as he ran.

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Not to my knowledge. Rather, his big story is he was singed badly. The organisers wanted the flame to burn spectacularly when it enetered the MCG, so they mixed the fuel with magnesium, which ended up popping and sputtering and generally raining sparks down on him as he lapped the stadium and gave him some nasty burns. if you seee film of the event you can see the torch raining sparks down and all over him as he ran.

Oh God. Did he have a good lawyer?

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And, to think, Canada has "Captain Canada" Ian Millar right now. Never mind that he cannot compete against the likes of this German showjumper, who celebrates his 81st birthday today. He had won SEVEN Olympic medals, 5 of them GOLD, in showjumping in SIX Olympic Games which spans from Melbourne 1956 to Montreal 1976.

Link 1: IOC: The Close Relationship Between A Horseman And His Mount

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Germany's Hans Günter Winkler

Link 2: His Personal IOC Page

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We were discussing "back-up" hosts in a Sochi thread, and I was prompted to look back over some of the warnings Brundage gave Melbourne that the games could be taken from them when they appeared to be dragging their feet. And came across this from The Argus in the national Archives. Interesting reading!

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Very interesting situation and ill take time to read those clippings when I get some time. Interesting to see those tensions between Unions and the State as far back as then (which is what this really boils down to)

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Funny to read how other cities were willing to spend $20 million on the 1956 Games. That's a bargain in today's Olympic prices!


Makes Madrid 2020 seem like a total Qatar 2022-like rip-off!

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Funny to read how other cities were willing to spend $20 million on the 1956 Games. That's a bargain in today's Olympic prices!

Makes Madrid 2020 seem like a total Qatar 2022-like rip-off!

Melbourne's original proposal was very impressive - with an entirely new Olympic Stadium to be built just off Royal Parade in Princes Park. Perhaps it was a shimmer of intelligence that they veered off these grand plans and went for the practicality of refurbishing the MCG instead - or Melbourne 1956 may have ended up as an earlier Montreal experience.

While Melbourne's organising experience leading up to its Olympics were plagued with organisational issues - the city certainly has built one of the best post-Games legacies of anywhere in the world - its Olympic Park precinct is now unrecognisable to 1956, and has new life, and has made it one of the most capable major events cities in the world.

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Funny to read how other cities were willing to spend $20 million on the 1956 Games. That's a bargain in today's Olympic prices!

Makes Madrid 2020 seem like a total Qatar 2022-like rip-off!

Hey, Madrid would still want to host even if they only had a mere dollar to work with.

Everyone involved is considered volunteers so they don't need to be paid. Athletes stay at Jose's house and there will be leftover Paella at Hector's! :P

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How time flies! Just noticed these pics in coverage of the 60th anniversary of the melbourne games, and realised iut's been 10 years since I started this thread for the 50th anniversary.

Anyway, as part of the celebrations, Melbourne's Herald Sun has published some rare coloured pics of the games - as someone who's always researched Oly history, colour pics of 56 are few and far between. Enjoy!

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The closing ceremony

 

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Crowds at the MCG

 

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Entrance to the Athlete's Village at Heidelberg West

 

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Department store Myerin Bourke St decked out for the games

 

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Another department store, Foys on Bourne and Swanson Streets, decked out.

More at: HeraldSun

Edited by Sir Rols
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