Winter Olympics


 Olympics Front
 Sport by Sport

1956 banner

Soviet Hockey Team
Gold-medal winning Soviet ice hockey team plays with good sportsmanship.

A live television broadcast came to the Winter Games for the first time, as Italian television (RAI) provided live coverage. The Games saw the arrival of a new national team at the quadrennial Olympic gathering: the Soviet Union. And did the Soviets make an impression. East and West German athletes competed together under a unified flag.


 Canadian teams had dominated Olympic ice hockey virtually from the first face-off in 1924, taking five out of six gold medals in Olympic competition. That all changed in 1956 with an impressive gold medal performance by the Soviet team.

 American figure skaters had a field day in Cortina. In the women's event Tenley Albright, skating on an injured foot, took the gold, and Carol Heiss the silver. In men's figure skating, it was a clean sweep for the United States, with Hayes Alan Jenkins winning the gold, Ronald Robertson the silver and David Jenkins (the younger brother of the gold-medal winner) taking the bronze.

 Tony Sailer (Austria) astounded the Alpine skiing world by sweeping all three gold medals in the slalom, giant slalom and downhill. He became an instant celebrity in his Austrian homeland, and was showered with offers from both music promoters and motion picture producers after the Games.

 The 1956 Games saw the last time an American bobsled team won a medal. The United States finished third in the two-man event. With rare exceptions, powerful Swiss, German and Soviet teams would rule Olympic bobsledding for many years to come.

AttendanceMale AthletesFemale AthletesMost-MedaledU.S. Rank
32 nations686 132USSR (16)Fifth (tied)

Source: Knight-Ridder/Tribune

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

Back to the top

Olympics Front | Sport by Sport | Gallery | History | Nagano | Countries
Yellow Pages