Host City: Melbourne, Australia
Date Started: November 22, 1956
Date Finished: December 1, 1956
Participants: 169 (169 men and 0 women) from 15 countries
Youngest Participant: Maximiliano Garafulic (18 years, 109 days)
Oldest Participant: Wee Tian Siak (35 years, 211 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 36 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): 3 countries with 1 medal
The 1956 Olympic basketball tournament was mostly contested at the Royal Exhibition Building Annex, with the final games played at the Royal Exhibition Building itself. The Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne also hosted the weightlifting, the fencing phase of modern pentathlon, and wrestling. It was built in 1880-81 and hosted the first Australian Parliament in 1901. It still exists and in 2004 was the first Australian building to receive UNESCO World Heritage Status. It continues to be used for shows and exhibits and as an examination hall for several Melbourne area schools and colleges.
Fifteen (15) teams competed in 1956, with the teams separated into four groups, which played a round-robin format. The top two teams in each group advanced to the quarter-finals, placed in Group A and Group B, as these were also conducted via a round-robin format. Groups C and D played round-robins as preliminary classification rounds. The winner and runner-up in Groups A and B advanced to the semi-finals.
The United States won its fourth consecutive gold medal in men’s basketball, and its streak would continue through 1968. In the final it defeated the Soviet Union, as it had in the 1952 final. It also played the Soviets in the quarter-final Group B, defeating them by 30 and 34 points in those two games, displaying its dominance in that era.