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Swimming at the 1956 Melbourne Summer Games:

Women's 100 metres Backstroke

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Host City: Melbourne, Australia
Venue(s): Olympic Park Swimming and Diving Stadium, Melbourne, Victoria
Date Started: December 3, 1956
Date Finished: December 5, 1956

Gold: GBR Judith Grinham
Silver: USA Carin Cone
Bronze: GBR Margaret Edwards

Summary

The withdrawal of the strong Netherlands swimming team from the Melbourne Games opened up the event to domination by a rampaging horde of teenagers. The oldest of the eight finalists, Helga Schmidt of Germany, would not turn 20 until February 1957.

In what was considered an open contest the British pair of Judith Grinham and Margaret Edwards clearly produced the best times in the heats but the final proved to be extremely close with all the finalists in contention until the final strokes of the race. To poolside observers Grinham, Carin Cone of the USA and Edwards all seemed to touch the wall at the same time with the official timing system crediting Grinham and Cone with a dead heat in world record time. Since a tie was not possible according to the rules, the decision on the gold medal was made by the official jury and, after 15 minutes of deliberation, it was decided by majority decision that Grinham was the Olympic champion.

Although the oldest of the three medal winners was only 17 at the time, this was the only Olympic Games that any of them attended. Grinham retired on her 20th birthday.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Judith Grinham 17 Great Britain GBR Gold WR
2 Carin Cone 16 United States USA Silver =WR
3 Margaret Edwards 17 Great Britain GBR Bronze
4 Helga Schmidt-Neuber 19 Germany GER
5 Maureen Murphy 17 United States USA
6 Julie Hoyle 18 Great Britain GBR
7 Sara Barber 15 Canada CAN
8 Gerganiya Beckitt 15 Australia AUS
2 h1 r1/2 Maria Both Romania ROU
3 h1 r1/2 Liudmyla Klipova 19 Soviet Union URS
4 h1 r1/2 Mary Anne Marchino 18 United States USA
4 h2 r1/2 Éva Pajor 19 Hungary HUN
5 h1 r1/2 Elżbieta Gellner 21 Poland POL
5 h2 r1/2 Jean Stewart 25 New Zealand NZL
5 h3 r1/2 Patricia Huntingford 16 Australia AUS
6 h1 r1/2 Pam Singleton Australia AUS
6 h2 r1/2 Moira Abernethy 17 South Africa RSA
6 h3 r1/2 Philippa Gould 15 New Zealand NZL
7 h1 r1/2 Lenora Fisher 19 Canada CAN
7 h2 r1/2 Jocelyn von Giese Philippines PHI
7 h3 r1/2 Judit Temes 26 Hungary HUN
8 h1 r1/2 Ginette Jany-Sendral 24 France FRA
8 h3 r1/2 Martha Gultom Indonesia INA