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Melbourne Olympics - A time of Protest and Revolt

Sixty years ago today was the first time in history that several countries decided to boycott the Olympics - the 1956 Melbourne Games.

12sqm Sharpie - Image IOC 1956 - Click image for a larger image

The Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland withdrew from the Melbourne Olympics in 1956 to protest against the Soviet Union invasion of Hungary and the Soviet presence at the Games.

Sixty years on the Olympic legacy left behind at the St Kilda Sailing Precinct (the '56 venue) continues with the venue welcoming a new generation of Olympic sailors.

The sailing Olympics had a very different focus in 1956.

There were just five classes, two dinghies and three keelboats: the Finn, 12sqm Sharpie, Star, Dragon and 5.5 Metre.

Scandinavian sailors came top winning three of the five golds.

Paul Elvstrøm of Denmark was then in full flow in the Finn and won his third consecutive Gold medal.

Also in the Finn event was a Bruce Kirby of Canada who finished eighth, but became better known as designer of the Olympic Laser.

Britain won 1 silver and 2 bronze (the most medals!) and were placed 5th behind SWE (2 gold) DEN, USA, NZL all 1 gold.

Results for the British team were:

Silver in 5.5 M for Robert Perry, David Bowker, John Dillon and Neil Kennedy-Cochran-Patrick.

Bronze in Dragon (the Queen's yacht, Bluebottle) for Graham Mann, Ronald Backus and Jonathan Janson.

Bronze in 12sqm Sharpie for Jasper Blackall and Terence Smith.

Plus Finn, 11th Richard Creagh-Osborne

And Star, 7th Bruce Banks and Stanley Potter.

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Gerald New - Sailweb
5 December 2016 18:04 GMT


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