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Athletics at the 1956 Melbourne Summer Games:

Men's Hammer Throw

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Events:
Phases:

Host City: Melbourne, Australia
Venue(s): Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Victoria
Date Started: November 24, 1956
Date Finished: November 24, 1956

Gold: USA Hal Connolly
Silver: URS Mikhail Krivonosov
Bronze: URS Anatoly Samotsvetov

Summary

The favorite was Soviet Mikhail Krivonosov, the 1954 European Champion, who had broken the world record seven times since 1954. His biggest challenger was American Hal Connolly, who bettered Krivonosov and was the world record holder as the Melbourne Olympics began. In the final, eventual bronze medalist Anatoly Samotsvetov (URS) led after round one with 62.10 (203-9) with Krivonosov second with 60.59 (198-9½), as Connolly fouled. Krivonosov took the lead in round two with 63.00 (206-8½), while Connolly’s 60.92 (199-10½) put him in third place, trailing his teammate Al Hall. Krivonosov improved slightly in the third round with 63.03 (206-9½) while Connolly moved into second with 62.65 (205-6½). Krivonosov would do no better, fouling his final three throws. In round five, Connolly secured the gold medal with 63.19 (207-3¾). Connolly also generated headlines in Melbourne by his romance with Czechoslovakian discus throw gold medalist Olga Fikotová. They fell in love and married in Praha a few months after the Olympics, overcoming what Connolly once described as “mountains of red tape.” The best man at the ceremony was Czech distance running legend Emil Zátopek.

The third American, Cliff Blair, had set a short-lived American record of 65.95 in July, and likely would have challenged for a medal. It bettered Krivonosov's world record, but was never recognized as a world record, for unknown reasons. Blair never made got to compete at the Olympics. He was helping Boston Globe sportswriter Jerry Nason with columns from Melbourne, and was thrown off the US team for violating amateur rules by serving as a sportswriter, although Nason stood up for him, insisting that he was writing the columns, and Blair was only speaking through him.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Hal Connolly 25 United States USA Gold OR
2 Mikhail Krivonosov 27 Soviet Union URS Silver OR
3 Anatoly Samotsvetov 23 Soviet Union URS Bronze
4 Al Hall 22 United States USA
5 József Csermák 24 Hungary HUN
6 Krešo Račić 24 Yugoslavia YUG
7 Dmytro Yegorov 25 Soviet Union URS
8 Sverre Strandli 31 Norway NOR
9 Peter Allday 29 Great Britain GBR
10 Alfons Niklas 27 Poland POL
11 Muhammad Iqbal 29 Pakistan PAK
12 Don Anthony 28 Great Britain GBR
13 Guy Husson 25 France FRA
14 Tadeusz Rut 25 Poland POL
AC r2/2 Birger Asplund 27 Sweden SWE
16 QR Song Gyo-Sik South Korea KOR
17 QR Yoshio Kojima 25 Japan JPN
18 QR Alejandro Díaz 36 Chile CHI
19 QR Charlie Morris 30 Australia AUS
20 QR Neville Gadsden 37 Australia AUS
21 QR Martin Crowe 33 Australia AUS
22 QR Fumio Kamamoto 38 Japan JPN