MEXICO CITY, July 19 (Xinhua) -- The Australian city of Melbourne was chosen in 1949 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to host the 16th Olympic Games, despite only receiving one more vote than the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires, making it the first city to host the Games outside of Europe and the United States.
However, there were several problems before and during the organization of this edition.
To begin with, there was a discrepancy between the committees surrounding the inauguration date since the original date proposed by Melbourne was in December. This would have been winter for the participating countries in the northern hemisphere and it was though that this might inconvenience athletes from those countries as they were accustomed to resting during their winter.
In the end, the different committees came to an agreement and decided to hold the Games between November 22 and December 8, completely different to all the previous Olympics.
Also, due to strict quarantine laws in Australia, all the horse riding events took place in Stockholm, Sweden. This was only the second time in the history of the Games that the sporting event had to take place in two separate countries and the only time the Olympics have taken place in two different continents in two different seasons since the horse riding competitions took place in June.
Several countries chose to boycott the Olympics in 1956. Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands withdrew from the Games in protest of the Soviet Union's invasion of Hungary while Egypt, Lebanon and Iraq also refused to participate in protest of the Franco-British Suez intervention.
Less than two weeks before the November inauguration, the People's Republic of China chose to boycott due to the presence of the Chinese Taipei. This conflict would take 28 years to be resolved.
During the inauguration, 3,314 athletes, including 376 women - a lower number than in previous editions - representing 96 countries in 151 events paraded out in the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
In this edition, officially known as the Games of the XVI Olympiad, it is worth mentioning U.S. athlete Bobby Morrow who won three gold medals in the 100 and 200 meters as well as the 4x100 meters relay. In the relay, Morrow and his teammates beat the previous World Record.
Vladimir Kutz from the USSR, also showed how good he was on a global scale by winning the 5,000 and 10,000 meters. In the 5,000 meters, he also beat the World Record, previously set by Czechoslovakia's Emil Zatopek, by a few seconds.
The Hungarian Lazlo Papp became the first boxer to win three gold medals while USSR gymnast Viktor Chukarin took home five medals, including three gold. This gave Chukarin a total of eleven Olympic medals throughout his career, including seven gold.
In terms of the host country's performance, Betty Cuthbert won three gold medals in the 100 and 200 meters as well as in the 4x100 meters relay. Another local competitor, Shirley Strickland, won the 80 meter hurdle, becoming both an Olympic and World Record holder with her time of 10.7 seconds.
OLYMPIC GAMES MELBOURNE 1956 MEDAL TABLE
COUNTRY GOLD SILVER BRONZE TOTAL
USSR 37 29 32 98
U.S. 32 25 17 74
Australia 13 8 14 35
Hungary 9 10 7 26
Italy 8 8 9 25
Sweden 8 5 6 19
Germany 6 13 7 26
UK 6 7 11 24
Romania 5 3 5 13
Japan 4 10 5 19