Saturday, 20 September 2008
On my day off yesterday, I went to a 'Body Balance' class at the Fitness First gym at Sylvania, and stayed for a swim. The pool is at the intersection of two very busy roads, yet can't be seen at all from outside, and the trees outside provide a restful setting on a sunlit day.
Saturday, 6 September 2008
Melbourne 22 November - 8 December 1956.
3,314 athletes (2,938 men, 376 women); 72 nations
Melbourne was the first time the Olympics had been held in the southern hemisphere (Sydney, 46 years later, was the second), the first time outside Europe or the United States. This caused a problem for northern athletes who had to maintain their peak beyond their usual summer season. The equestrian events were held in Stockholm, due to Australia's strict quarantine laws. The high cost of travelling to the Games meant fewer athletes participated.
Melbourne was also the first Games with live television broadcasts and the first in which all the athletes walked together as one in the Closing Ceremony. This change to procedure had been suggested to organisers by an Australian schoolboy, John Ian Wing, and remains a tradition.
Television was introduced to Australia in 1956, and was the impetus for many people to buy a set.
China pulled out because of the presence of Taiwan, Egypt and Lebanon didn;t attend because of the Suez crisis, and Lichetenstein, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland also withdrew, in protest at the Soviet invasion of Hungary. East and West Germany competed as a Combined Germany team.
That invasion caused one of the abiding memories of the Melbourne Games, A final round water polo match between the USSR and Hungary had to be abandoned as blood was drawn in the pool.
Other "stars of the games" included Australian runners Betty Cuthbert (aged 18) and Shirley Strickland. Cuthbert won the 100 and 200 metres and in the 4 x 100m relay, and Strickland added to her medal tally from 1948 and 1952, winning the 80m hurdles and as a member of the 4 x 100m relay. Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina won four golds, one silver and one bronze to be the most successful competitor.
In the pool, the stand-out performers were Dawn Fraser, who went on to become the ONLY swimmer to win the same event at three Olympic Games - the 100m freestyle. Murray Rose was the first male swimmer since Johnny Weissmuller in 1924 to win two individual freestyle events (400m and 1500 m)
Above: Dawn Fraser wins the 100m freestyle.
Australian swimming team
Gary Chapman (100m freestyle; 4 x 200m freestyle)
John Devitt (100m freestyle; 4 x 200 m freestyle)
Murray Garretty (1500m freestyle; 4 x 200m freestyle)
Terrence Gathercole (200m breaststroke)
Graham Hamilton (4 x 200m freestyle)
John Hayres (100m backstroke)
Jon Henricks (100m freestyle; 4 x 200m freestyle)
John Marshall (200m butterfly)
John Monckton (100m backstroke)
Kevin O'Halloran (400m freestyle; 4 x 200m freestyle)
Murray Rose (400m freestyle; 1500m freestyle; 4 x 200m freestyle)
David Theile (100m backstroke)
Brian Wilkinson (200m butterfly)
Gary Winram (400m freestyle; 1500m freestyle)
Alva Colquhoun (4 x 100m freestyle)
Lorraine Crapp (100m freestyle; 400m freestyle; 4 x 100m freestyle)
Dawn Fraser (100m freestyle; 400m freestyle; 4 x 100m freestyle)
Maureen Giles-Monckton (100m butterfly)
Patricia Huntingford (100m backstroke)
Barbara Sargeant (200m breaststroke)
Gergaynia Shelley (100m backstroke)
Beverley Spargo (100m butterfly)
Pam Hutchings (100m backstroke)
Faith Leech (100m freestyle; 4 x 100m freestyle)
Sandra Morgan (400m freestyle; 4 x 100m freestyle)
Margaret Messenger (4 x 100m freestyle)
Elizabeth Walker (4 x 100m freestyle)
Events, Medallists, Winning and Australian Times
100m freestyle: G: Jon Henricks AUS 55.4 S: John Devitt AUS55.8 B: Gary Chapman AUS 56.7 ( left: Jon Henricks, Jon Devitt and Gary Chapman; right Jon Henricks)
400m freestyle: G: Murray Rose AUS 4:27.3 S: Tsuyoshi Yamanaka JPN; B: George Breen USA 4th - Kevin O'Halloran AUS 4:32.9 6th - Gary Winram AUS 4:34.9
1500m freestyle: G: Murray Rose AUS 17:58.9 S: Tsuyoshi Yamanaka JPN B: George Breen USA 4th - Murray Garretty 18:26.5 8th - Gary Winram AUS 19:06.2 (left: Murray Rose being congratulated)
100m backstroke: G: David Theile AUS 1:02.2 S: John Monckton AUS 1:03.2 B: Frank McKinney USA; 5th - John Hayres 1:05.0
200m breaststroke: G: Masaru Furukawa JPN 2:34.7 S: Masahiro Yoshimura B: JPN Charis Yunitschev URS 4th - Terence Gathercole 2:38.7
200m butterfly: G: William Yorzik USA 2:19.3 S: Takashi Ishimoto JPN B: Gyorgy Tompek HUN 5th - John Marshall AUS 2:27.2 7th - Brian Wilkinson AUS 2:29.7
4 x 200m freestyle relay: G: Australia 8:23.6 S: USA B: USSR
100m freestyle: G: Dawn Fraser AUS 1:02.0 S: Lorraine Crapp AUS 1:02.3 B: Faith Leech AUS 1:05.1 (right: Fraser, Crapp and Leech)
400m freestyle: G: Lorraine Crapp AUS 4:54.6 S: Dawn Fraser AUS 5:02.5 B: Sylvia Ruuska USA 6th - Sandra Morgan 5:14.3 (left: Dawn Fraser after heat 3 of the 400m)
100m backstroke: G: Judith Grinham GBR 1:12.9 S: Carin Cone USA B: Margaret Edwards GBR 8th - Gergaynia Shelley AUS 1:14.7
200m breaststroke: G: Ursula Happe GER 2:53.1 S: Eva Ezekely HUN B: Eva-Maria ten Elsen GER
100m butterfly: G: Shelley Mann USA 1:11.0 S: Nancy Ramey USA B: Mary Sears USA 5th- Beverley Spargo AUS 1:15.2
4 x 100m freestyle: G: Australia 4:17.1 S: USA B: South Africa