Host City: Melbourne, Australia
Date Started: November 23, 1956
Date Finished: December 1, 1956
Participants: 161 (161 men and 0 women) from 34 countries
Youngest Participant: Yaishwe Best (17 years, 141 days)
Oldest Participant: Július Torma (34 years, 265 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 40 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): Soviet Union (6 medals)
West Melbourne Stadium (later renamed the Festival Hall) was the venue for a tournament that saw the continued emergence of communist Eastern Europe, particularly the Soviet Union, as the major force in amateur boxing. The Soviets topped the medal table as six of the ten champions (including an East German competing for a combined German team) came from behind the Iron Curtain. Foremost amongst the achievements in Melbourne was that of Hungarian [László Papp] who made history by becoming the first boxer to win a third Olympic title.
Elsewhere Great Britain and Ireland flew the flag for Western Europe. Five of the seven Britons went home with medals and the nation claimed their first gold medals for over 30 years. Britain’s lightweight champion Dick McTaggart had a spectacular games and was awarded the Val Barker Trophy as the outstanding boxer of the Games.
The USA, traditionally the most successful boxing nation, arrived in Melbourne with a team described by an American newspaper as “the worst Olympic team ever to leave these shores”. They duly struggled at the lower weights and lost two members who failed to make the weight but found redemption through light-heavyweight Jim Boyd and the destructive performances of heavyweight Pete Rademacher.
The host nation, Australia, claimed a single bronze medal which was their first in boxing in nearly half a century.