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Melbourne 1956


LA84

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I've noticed a couple of times on the board, latest was just today in another thread, references to the Melbourne 1956 games as having a "negative" perception.

It's funny, from an Australian perspective, whenever the Melbourne Games are discussed here Down Under, we are told they are regarded as the "Friendly Games", the last of the old-style games before they got too big and too commercial. We basically assume that they certainly go in the "positive" category.

When you read general olympic histories, though, what's usually mentioned is the equestrian split to Stockholm, the boycotts over the Hungarian invasion and Suez, and the "blood in the pool" water polo incident between Hungary and the USSR.

I'm interested to know, from a non-Australian perspective, just how are these games generally regarded overseas? (that's if anyone has any thoughts on them at all _ I assume they were well before the time of anyone here to have any first hand thoughts on them at all).

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I've noticed a couple of times on the board, latest was just today in another thread, references to the Melbourne 1956 games as having a "negative" perception.

It's funny, from an Australian perspective, whenever the Melbourne Games are discussed here Down Under, we are told they are regarded as the "Friendly Games", the last of the old-style games before they got too big and too commercial. We basically assume that they certainly go in the "positive" category.

When you read general olympic histories, though, what's usually mentioned is the equestrian split to Stockholm, the boycotts over the Hungarian invasion and Suez, and the "blood in the pool" water polo incident between Hungary and the USSR.

I'm interested to know, from a non-Australian perspective, just how are these games generally regarded overseas? (that's if anyone has any thoughts on them at all _ I assume they were well before the time of anyone here to have any first hand thoughts on them at all).

The first time I really got to know about Melbourne 1956 is that how it won over Buenos Aires by one vote to get it.

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To be honest with you, Melbourne 1956 is not really talked about much- it's hardly mentioned. But then again in 50 years time, Barcelona 1992 and Sydney 2000 will also not be mentioned much beacuse they were so long ago.

That means that nothing very bad happened at the 1956 games (the blood in pool story is not really that famous internationally- I'm talking about lay population of course, not olympic fans like ourselves).

In my opinion for olympic games held a long time ago to be remembered and talked about, something bad/ controversial has usually happened, examples being:

*Munich 1972- massacre of Israeli athletes

*Atlanta 1996- bomb explodes, killing 2, injuring 111 people.

*Berlin 1936- Hitler's games, where the Nazi's wanted to show off their Aryan superiority (but many black athletes won gold medals)

*Montreal 1976- construction incomplete, massive debt for 30 years.

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By the general world populace, Melbourne is pretty much regarded as the "Friendly Games" as you mentioned.  The last of the small games and of course, during a period of post war posperity for many nations and not that many world-wide conflicts going on.  And of course, Aussie hospitality!

I think it's only the people who have an interest in Olympic History know of the problems associated in preparing for them: Avery Brundage's trip in '54-'55 threatening to take them away because of all the organizing problems, etc.

As far as the older games go, I think really the only ones with any negative connotations associated with them are Paris and St. Louis.  Melbourne I would put in the positive category.

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*Atlanta 1996- bomb explodes, killing 2, injuring 111 people.

CORRECTION:  It killed one (1) person.  The other casualty, the Turkish reporter or correspondent, died of a heart attack, not from shrapnel from the bomb, but from the excitement of attending the greatest Centennial Games evah!!

Where did you get the 111 injuries?  Please get your stats right, Suit.

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I think it's only the people who have an interest in Olympic History know of the problems associated in preparing for them: Avery Brundage's trip in '54-'55 threatening to take them away because of all the organizing problems, etc.

Yeah, I pretty well figured as much. It's probably really only Olympics nuts like us who might know much about them or have any opinion. My interest was only piqued by a couple of comments here along the lines of "Sydney 2000 was meant to dispel the negative legacy of Melbourne ..." etc.

Like I said, for Aussies, Melbourne is still pretty much celebrated  as one of the country's highlights _ it helped that it marked, I suppose, the high point of the country's first "Golden Era" of sporting success.

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I think it's only the people who have an interest in Olympic History know of the problems associated in preparing for them: Avery Brundage's trip in '54-'55 threatening to take them away because of all the organizing problems, etc.

Yeah, I pretty well figured as much. It's probably really only Olympics nuts like us who might know much about them or have any opinion. My interest was only piqued by a couple of comments here along the lines of "Sydney 2000 was meant to dispel the negative legacy of Melbourne ..." etc.

Like I said, for Aussies, Melbourne is still pretty much celebrated  as one of the country's highlights _ it helped that it marked, I suppose, the high point of the country's first "Golden Era" of sporting success.

Melbourne really put Australia on the world stage, not only because of hosting the Olympics but because of stars like Murray Rose, Dawn Frasier, Betty Cuthbert - people who are still today remembered fondly around the world.

Yea, people remember the bloody pool incident but it seems like every games has some negative occurence associated with it. Athens had the marathon attack and the Canadian in a tutu: Munich and Atlanta of course, L.A. had the bald eagle die before the opening :sweet: (enter Jetman!). My personal favorite was the Pigeon Roast in Seoul  :laughlong:

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Mr. Brundage threatened to take those Games away from Melbourne? Boy, he must not been liked too much by the citizens there, never mind the Australian Olympic Committee (or what it is called).
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Mr. Brundage threatened to take those Games away from Melbourne? Boy, he must not been liked too much by the citizens there, never mind the Australian Olympic Committee (or what it is called).

In that regard, it was a bit like the Athens of its day. Having won the right to host in 1948 or whenever, the organising committee then spent the next few years dithering on its plans, and in particular what to do about the main stadium (It had proposed a new stadium, but then the move came to use the MCG instead). Word reached Brundage that preparations were not all they could be for the games, so he made the long trek out to Melbourne (probably by boat in those days, which wouldn't have improved his temper) and made threatening noises about taking the games away if they didn't get their act together. Like Athens, the "Orange Light" gambit seems to have done the trick (and in the end, the MCG was probably the right option _ it's still Australia's premier sports arena to this day _ even if it no longer bears much resemblance to its 1956 guise).

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Man, what a guy. On top of it, he "recently started" his post as IOC President then. Anyway, it did look like he wanted to have the Games go to "new frontiers" overall.
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*Atlanta 1996- bomb explodes, killing 2, injuring 111 people.

CORRECTION:  It killed one (1) person.  The other casualty, the Turkish reporter or correspondent, died of a heart attack, not from shrapnel from the bomb, but from the excitement of attending the greatest Centennial Games evah!!

Where did you get the 111 injuries?  Please get your stats right, Suit.

I suggest you read the following articles, before criticising others of posting incorrect facts and figures:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisd....865.stm

(look at the box with the headed "in context")

http://www.time.com/time/olympic_bombing/begin.html

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/olympic....bombing

http://www.smh.com.au/article....ck=true

http://www.statenews.com/editionssummer96/073196/p1_oly.html

What's more your story of the photojournalist dying from excitement is disputed. Many media articles state he died form the shock of the explosion, an example being the following CNN article:

http://edition.cnn.com/US/9907/27/olympic.bombing.01/

The article states:"the explosion also contributed to a second death, that of a Turkish television cameraman who suffered a fatal heart attack while running to cover the aftermath of the blast."

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Man, what a guy. On top of it, he "recently started" his post as IOC President then. Anyway, it did look like he wanted to have the Games go to "new frontiers" overall.

1956 was really only the second time that the IOC seriously considered and ultimatly went to a "new frontier." (St. Louis would have been the first) as Melbourne and Buenos Aires were the top two vote getters.

In hindsight it was way before it's time as jet travel was just coming into it's own and was very expensive (as it still is!).  As a result, the Melbourne games weren't as well attended by the athletes.  But they still went off very successfully.

As for Avery Brundage stamping his foot, there is a little snippet about it on page 2 of the MCG website (I can't link it - sorry).

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*Atlanta 1996- bomb explodes, killing 2, injuring 111 people.

CORRECTION:  It killed one (1) person.  The other casualty, the Turkish reporter or correspondent, died of a heart attack, not from shrapnel from the bomb, but from the excitement of attending the greatest Centennial Games evah!!

Where did you get the 111 injuries?  Please get your stats right, Suit.

I suggest you read the following articles, before criticising others of posting incorrect facts and figures:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisd....865.stm

(look at the box with the headed "in context")

http://www.time.com/time/olympic_bombing/begin.html

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/olympic....bombing

http://www.smh.com.au/article....ck=true

http://www.statenews.com/editionssummer96/073196/p1_oly.html

What's more your story of the photojournalist dying from excitement is disputed. Many media articles state he died form the shock of the explosion, an example being the following CNN article:

http://edition.cnn.com/US/9907/27/olympic.bombing.01/

The article states:"the explosion also contributed to a second death, that of a Turkish television cameraman who suffered a fatal heart attack while running to cover the aftermath of the blast."

THanks, Suit.  I needed those references for my nephew's research project.  I was just too lazy to search.   :love:

ALways works.   :wink:

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From what I understand of the history of the 1956 Summer Games, and from an Australian perspective, part of the reason why the Melbourne 56 games are perhaps 'neglected' is that the overall international media coverage of the games was not as comprehensive as, for example, the 1936 Berlin Games. Melbourne's official film was not as well distributed or received as, say, Riefenstahl's "Olympia" for Berlin, or Ichikawa's "Tokyo Olympiad". There was no TV coverage outside of Australia, and of course you can't compare media technologies in 1956 to later games. Melbourne 1956 were games held in a darker age of sports media coverage, and for that matter the tyranny of distance meant that Australia was too far away from the larger sporting markets of Europe and North America.

Suit U Sir !!! Posted on Mar. 22 2005,20:42

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To be honest with you, Melbourne 1956 is not really talked about much- it's hardly mentioned. But then again in 50 years time, Barcelona 1992 and Sydney 2000 will also not be mentioned much beacuse they were so long ago.

That means that nothing very bad happened at the 1956 games (the blood in pool story is not really that famous internationally- I'm talking about lay population of course, not olympic fans like ourselves).

In my opinion for olympic games held a long time ago to be remembered and talked about, something bad/ controversial has usually happened, examples being:

I guess it can be argued with much truth that the negative aspects of a games will mark an Olympics in how it is considered in history, and conversely the good aspects (if superlative) will also highlight a Games. For those people who have no distinct interest in the Olympics aside from the games of the contemporary age and the sport therein, then an Olympics held 50 years ago will not resonate unless something truly excellent or awful occurred. Issues such as the Hungary-USSR waterpolo match, the bedevilled organisation phase of the Melbourne 56 SOG, the mini-boycott carried out by countries such as Switzerland and Spain, even the separate hosting of the equestrian events in Stockholm, aren't enough to jog a casual Olympic observers interest. And then, for international Olympic fans each country's heritage would also narrow one's focus. I'm sure American Olympic fans who have any knowledge of Melbourne would first speak of Bobby Morrow's sprint double, or Al Oerter's first discus gold medal, or maybe Tommy Kono's weightlifting gold. Brazilians would concentrate on Adhemar de Silva's triple jump gold (his second after Helsinki), Russians on Vladimir Kuts and Larissa Latynina, Kiwis on Norman Read and Danes on Paul Elvstrom.

Ultimately, aside from the 'big' issues like terrorist attacks, bungled or disrupted organisation, major boycotts or local attention, an Olympics is defined to most people by the athletic heroes and heroines that become part of a country's sporting heritage and history. You wait...in years to come Athens 2004 will be defined by the likes of Michael Phelps and Fani Halkia, and all the heat over crowd numbers and drugs will fade.

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*Atlanta 1996- bomb explodes, killing 2, injuring 111 people.

CORRECTION:  It killed one (1) person.  The other casualty, the Turkish reporter or correspondent, died of a heart attack, not from shrapnel from the bomb, but from the excitement of attending the greatest Centennial Games evah!!

Where did you get the 111 injuries?  Please get your stats right, Suit.

I suggest you read the following articles, before criticising others of posting incorrect facts and figures:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisd....865.stm

(look at the box with the headed "in context")

http://www.time.com/time/olympic_bombing/begin.html

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/olympic....bombing

http://www.smh.com.au/article....ck=true

http://www.statenews.com/editionssummer96/073196/p1_oly.html

What's more your story of the photojournalist dying from excitement is disputed. Many media articles state he died form the shock of the explosion, an example being the following CNN article:

http://edition.cnn.com/US/9907/27/olympic.bombing.01/

The article states:"the explosion also contributed to a second death, that of a Turkish television cameraman who suffered a fatal heart attack while running to cover the aftermath of the blast."

THanks, Suit.  I needed those references for my nephew's research project.  I was just too lazy to search.   :love:

ALways works.   :wink:

Well, as I'm sure you've spotted, each of those articles mentions the same figure- 111 injured, so there's no lack of knowledge on my part with regards to the facts/ figures.

Anyway, when it comes to terror attacks and casualty figures, there has in many cases been disputes/ disagreements as to what the correct casualty figure is, Atlanta 1996 being an example of that.

The Madrid train bombs is another example. Mostly the death toll is quoted as 191, but sometimes it is put at 192- the reason for this being that one of the victims was a pregnant woman- there are disputes as to whether the unborn foetus can be regarded as a proper life.

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I know this has been mentioned before in some ways, but what about the Australian athletes on home soil here for 1956, especially the women ones?
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  • 4 years later...

Just thought I'd post a pic of my visit to the MCG and the National Sports and Olympic Museum the other day (great museum, by the way, lots to see, lots of interactive displays).

And the MCG, still truly still the great Holy Shrine of Australian Sport. And beyond the tradition, a great stadium in its own right.

mcgolympic2.jpg

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Just thought I'd post a pic of my visit to the MCG and the National Sports and Olympic Museum the other day (great museum, by the way, lots to see, lots of interactive displays).

And the MCG, still truly still the great Holy Shrine of Australian Sport. And beyond the tradition, a great stadium in its own right.

mcgolympic2.jpg

I agree the MCG is a great iconic stadium . I think of it in terms on a plan with Old Wembley , Maracana and the Berlin Olympic Stadium .

The renovations they made prior to the Commonwealth Games really have MCG in a new light.

Jim jones

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