1956 Summer Olympics – Melbourne

Crowds in the stadium at the summer Olympic Games, Melbourne, Australia, 1956 – Image ID: 2HTCF90

It gives me such a thrill when one of these old slides finds a user – as it did today through Alamy. This was taken by Clive Gimson during his teacher exchange visit to Melbourne Grammar School.

It looks like the start of a final judging by the size of the crowd and the line of athletes across the track. Perhaps a middle distance race as a guess. Somehow the bobbing heads in the way of this image add to the sense of occasion and atmosphere – this really was what it was like to be there.

My guess is that this is the 1500m final – based on the number of competitors and what I can see ( at zoom) of the athletes.

If so, this is what happened:

“The final had twelve men toe the line. Uniquely, Murray Halberg used a sprinter’s crouched start in lane 1 and sprinted into the lead from the gun. In future years, this kind of start would become forbidden in a long race. Halberg held that lead until there were two laps to go where he was passed in a rush by Mervyn Lincoln running in front of a home crowd. Lincoln held the lead until just after the bell when he was swallowed up by a rush led by Brian Hewson. Ten men went around Lincoln and he was cooked. Klaus Richtzenhain was the next to follow with Halberg making one more rush down the backstretch before he too was cooked. From tenth place, Ron Delany began picking off runners on the backstretch, as Halberg slowed, Delany used the traffic to step into fifth place at the start of the final turn. Passing in lane 2, Delany ran around the field, catching Hewson at the head of the straightaway. Hewson looked helplessly at Delany as he passed. Fighting out of the group Delany passed at the start of the turn, another home town favorite John Landy chased from behind, still in sixth at the head of the straight. With a stiff, upright sprinting style, Delany pulled away from the field. Hewson struggled down the final straight, watching Richtzenhain run past on the outside. Landy made a late final charge in lane 3 but just came up short in trying to catch Richtzenhain for silver.” ( Wikipedia)

In the lane nearest to us must be the winner Ron Delany in the green of Ireland.

Here is some fascinating film of the race

I will update once the usage information is made available to me ( the fee is low suggesting Personal Use). Anyway, I’m delighted 😉

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Start: 15 February 2023
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