Host City: Melbourne, Australia
Venue(s): Merrett Rifle Range, Williamstown, Victoria; Oaklands Hunt Club, Broadmeadows, Victoria; Olympic Park Swimming and Diving Stadium, Melbourne, Victoria; Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne, Victoria
Date Started: November 23, 1956
Date Finished: November 28, 1956
Format: Scoring by point tables.
The defending champion Lars Hall, was back, but he had not competed at the World Championships since the 1952 Olympics, and was only selected for the Swedish team in October 1956 when he won the Swedish Championship. Nobody had stood out in the interim, as the nine medals at the 1953-55 World Championships were won by nine different athletes. In the cross-country steeplechase riding, Hall got off to a good start, placing fourth. The leaders were two Americans, George Lambert and Jack Daniels. But they fell back in the épée fencing. Hall placed fourth with the sword and moved into a big lead after two phases, with 1,924 points, leading two Finns, Väinö Korhonen and Olavi Mannonen. The three would fight it out for the medals for the rest of the event. Hall struggled in the shooting, finishing equal 24th, while Mannonen and Korhonen would tie for fifth, and they moved ahead, Korhonen taking the overall lead over Mannonen, with Hall now fourth, also trailing Hungary’s Gábor Benedek, the 1952 silver medalist.
Hall’s best event was swimming and he placed second in the 300 freestyle, finishing only behind the Soviet Union’s Ivan Deryugin. But Mannonen, Korhonen, and Benedek placed 15th, 16th, and 18th respectively, and Hall moved back into a 41-point lead over Korhonen. In the cross-country run, Hall placed eighth, but of the contenders, only Mannonen finished ahead of him, and just barely in seventh place. It was not enough and allowed Hall to defend his gold medal, with Mannonen placing second, and Korhonen third. Lars Hall was the first athlete to have won two individual gold medals, a feat not matched until Andrey Moiseyev (RUS) won gold in 2004-2008. In fencing, Romania's Cornel Vena won 29 of 35 bouts, scoring 1,111 points. Although records are not complete for the early years, he won 82.9% of his bouts, and this is the best performance and highest score awarded in fencing in the Olympic modern pentathlon.
|4||Igor Novikov||27||Soviet Union||URS||4,714.5|
|5||George Lambert||28||United States||USA||4,693.0|
|7||Bill Andre||25||United States||USA||4,629.5|
|8||Aleksandr Tarasov||29||Soviet Union||URS||4,479.0|
|9||Ivan Deriuhin||27||Soviet Union||URS||4,452.0|
|13||Jack Daniels||23||United States||USA||4,078.5|
|18||Gerardo Cortes, Sr.||Chile||CHI||3,849.5|
|25||Donald Cobley||28||Great Britain||GBR||3,422.0|
|26||Okkie van Greunen||22||South Africa||RSA||3,402.0|
|28||Thomas Hudson||20||Great Britain||GBR||3,260.0|
|34||George Norman||29||Great Britain||GBR||2,749.0|
|36||Harry Schmidt||40||South Africa||RSA||1,566.0|
|AC||Nilo da Silva||23||Brazil||BRA||DNF|
|AC||Marthinus du Plessis||24||South Africa||RSA||DNF|