Host City: Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
Venue(s): Bobsleigh Run, Ronco, Cortina d'Ampezzo
Date Started: February 3, 1956
Date Finished: February 4, 1956
Format: Four runs, total time determined placement.
The World Championship winning pilots from 1953 and 1954, Lloyd Johnson of the USA and Fritz Feierabend of Switzerland were not present but the reigning World Champion, Franz Kapus, appeared in Cortina with the same Switzerland I crew that he had steered to victory in 1955.
Whilst the two-man event had been completely dominated by Italy the four-man event was a very different competition. At the end of day one, during which temperatures had dipped to -16° C. (3° F.), four crews were left in contention for the medals. Switzerland I and II topped the leader board in that order with USA I and Italy’s II bob in close proximity. The decisive run was Switzerland I’s third as they blazed down the track over a second faster than their rivals and ensured that victory would be a formality. A disastrous final run from Switzerland II eliminated them from medal contention so it was left to Eugenio Monti’s Italian crew to sneak past American veteran [Art Tyler] for the second place on the podium.
For winning pilot Franz Kapus, at 46 years of age and in his third Olympics, it was a fitting climax to his career. Kapus remains the oldest man to pilot a bob to Olympic gold and the second oldest, after 48 year old J.J. O’Brien, of any Olympic bobsleigh champion.