Melbourne won the right to host the 1956 Olympic Games by one vote over Buenos Aires. Australian quarantine laws were too severe to allow the entry of foreign horses, so the equestrian events were held separately in Stockholm in June.
French long-distance runner Alain Mimoun had tasted Olympic defeat on the track three times at the hands of Czech Emil Zátopek. However, in the marathon it was Mimoun who pulled away to record a comfortable victory. He waited at the finish line for Zátopek, his old friend and great rival, who trotted home in sixth place.
The US basketball team, led by Bill Russell and K.C. Jones, put on the most dominant performance in Olympic history. They scored more than twice as many points as their opponents and won each of their games by at least 30 points.
Prior to 1956, the athletes in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies marched in alphabetical order by National Olympic Committees. However, in Melbourne, following a suggestion by a young Australian named John Ian Wing, the athletes entered the stadium together during the Closing Ceremony as a symbol of global unity.
Athletes 3,314 (376 women, 2,938 men)