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Olympic Games
5 - 21 August 2016

Melbourne 1956

Melbourne 1956

Opening Date

22 Nov 1956

Closing Date

08 Dec 1956

Country of the host city


Candidate cities

Buenos Aires (ARG), Los Angeles (USA), Detroit (USA), Mexico (MEX), Chicago (USA), Minneapolis (USA), Philadelphie (USA) and San Francisco (USA)


When the Games moved away from Europe or the USA for the first time, they headed south to Melbourne, Australia. Again five classes were sailed at various locations on Port Philip Bay. The Finns were at Sandringham; Dragons and 5.5-Metres at Brighton whilst the Stars and newcomers, 12-Square Metre Sharpies, making their one and only Olympic appearance, were St Kilda. Sailing fared better than the equestrian events for which the Australians refused to relax quarantine laws.

For the only time an Olympic event was separated, held in Stockholm instead. The post World War was no less political. British and French action in Suez, the Soviet invasion of Hungary, Egyptian/Israeli and China/Taiwan tensions saw a handful of countries stay away. The breezy sailing events suited Elvstrom. gold No 3 was his, the 20 Finns and their English sails were drawn by ballot. Canada's Bruce Kirby was 8th overall in the Finns. His Olympic triumph came later when, in 1996, his creation - the Laser - was introduced to the Games. The Australians used a clock face of eight buoys with the committee boat in the middle to set their course. When the winds were light, the Scandinavian crews were untouchable in the Dragon with Swede Folke Bohlin, the silver medallist from 1948, and Dane Ole Berntsen taking gold and silver ahead of Lt Commander Graham Mann sailing the royal Dragon, Bluebottle, owned by the HRH Duke Edinburgh who had formally opened the Games at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The Star contest was spicy with Italian world champion Commander Augustino Straulino becoming involved in an early clash with Dr de Cardenas of Cuba in which the Italian forced the Cuban down on the American Star, which holed her. Both Italy and Cuba went out from that race, the difference for Straulino between winning a second successive gold and getting silver instead. The Sharpie competition had a real trans-Tasman feel with Kiwi Peter Mander and West Australian Rolly Tasker racing home-built boats. The German world champion was the only other person in the 13-strong fleet to win a heat. The Tasker v Mander battle for gold continued into the last race with Tasker thinking he'd secured the title until a tangle at the final windward mark with the French boat. Tasker didn't protest but the Frenchman did and Tasker lost the gold despite ending up tied as Mander had three wins to the Australian's two.

ISAF Olympic News
Olympics - Regatta page - History - 1956
Regatta Details
Start Date26 November 1956
End Date5 December 1956
Entry Name
Entry Address
Registration Lists n/a
Latest News
Fleet racing Open 12 Square Metre Sharpie W view
Fleet racing Open 5.5 Metre W view
Fleet racing Open Dragon W view
Fleet racing Men Finn W view
Fleet racing Open Star W view
Medal Tally


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