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