Sport in Australia in the 1950s

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Technology made it possible to watch sporting performances live on television. • Television rights to the Melbourne Olympics were eventually granted to Australia's Channel 9. • In 1956, Melbourne hosted the Olympic Games. This fostered a great sense of national pride and cast the international spotlight onto Australia like never before. • It was the first time the games had been held in the Southern Hemisphere. • Australia had rapidly recovered from then ravages of World War II • This was considered to be a contributing factor to Melbourne's successful Olympic bid. • The prelude to the Melbourne Olympics was a controversial time. • As Australia's strict quarantine laws meant that many horses would be prevented from entering the country, the equestrian competition was eventually held in Stockholm, Sweden. • This was the first time in history that an Olympic event was held outside the host country. • Just weeks before the Melbourne games commenced, Cold War tensions came to a head. • The USSR invaded Hungary to prevent an uprising and there was doubt that the Olympic Games would even go ahead. • The Melbourne Games did proceed, but the tensions between Hungary and the USSR led to a violent clash between the two countries during an Olympic water polo match. • Australia finished with excellent results at the Melbourne Olympics, coming in third behind the United States and the USSR with a total of 35 medals, including 13 gold. • Our greatest medal haul was in the swimming events.

• Australia won every men's and women's freestyle race and collected a total of 8 gold medals. • Standout individual Australians at the Olympics include sprinter Betty Cuthbert and swimmers Murray Rose and Dawn Fraser.

• The 1950s were a stand-out decade for Australian sport.
• Sporting success, particularly on the world stage, has enabled the creation of a distinct national identity. • Australia reigned supreme in world tennis and cricket throughout the 1950s with stars like Ken...
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