December 1956 in Sport

Events in Sport

  • Dec 1 Algerian-born French long-distance runner Alain Mimoun wins the men's marathon in 2:25:00.0 at the Melbourne Olympics; first time runners follow painted line
  • Dec 1 21st Iron Bowl: Auburn beats Alabama 34-7 in Birmingham
  • Dec 1 In front of 100,000 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, a US Army baseball team beats an Australian all-star team, 11–5 in an Olympic exhibition game; Sergeant Vance Sutton belts a grand slam for Army
  • Dec 1 US men's 4 x 100m relay team of Thane Baker, Leamon King, Bobby Morrow & Ira Murchison sets world record 39.60s to win the gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics; Morrow's 3rd gold medal of the Games
  • Dec 1 Australian women's 4 x 100m relay team of Norma Croker, Betty Cuthbert, Fleur Mellor & Shirley Strickland de la Hunty run world record 44.65 to win the gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics; Cuthbert's 3rd gold of the Games
  • Dec 1 American Mildred McDaniel jumps world record 1.76m to win the women's high jump gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics; Briton Thelma Hopkins and Russian Mariya Pisareva dead-heat for silver (1.67m)
  • Dec 1 Hungarian boxer László Papp wins his 3rd straight Olympic gold medal when he beats future Hall of Famer José Torres representing the US on points in the light-middleweight final at the Melbourne Olympics
  • Dec 1 Legendary Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser sets world record 1:02.0 to win the women's 100m freestyle at the Melbourne Olympics; first of Fraser's 3 consecutive gold medals in the event

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 1 Led by future Basketball Hall of Famers Bill Russell and K.C. Jones, the US wins it's 4th consecutive Olympic gold medal with an 89-55 victory over the Soviet Union at the Melbourne Games

Basketball Player Bill Russell
Basketball Player
Bill Russell
  • Dec 1 Romanian canoeist Leon Rotman wins the men's C-1,000m gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics; claims the singles double after also winning the C-1 10,000m gold
  • Dec 1 Gert Fredriksson of Sweden wins his 3rd consecutive K-1 1,000m canoeing gold medal by 2.5s from Igor Pissarov of the Soviet Union at the Melbourne Olympics; also wins K-1 10,000m gold

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 3 Basketball icon Wilt Chamberlain makes his much anticipated varsity debut; scores 52 points and grabs 31 rebounds, breaking both all-time Kansas records in an 87–69 win against Northwestern

NBA Legend Wilt Chamberlain
NBA Legend
Wilt Chamberlain
  • Dec 3 Australian 4 x 200m freestyle relay team of Kevin O'Halloran, John Devitt, Murray Rose & Jon Henricks swim world record 8:23.6 to take the gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics; Rose's 2nd of 3 gold at the Games
  • Dec 4 22nd Heisman Trophy Award: Paul Hornung, Notre Dame (QB)
  • Dec 4 Australian swimmer Murray Rose sets world record 4:27.3 to claim the 400m gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics; Rose later also wins 1,500m gold
  • Dec 4 American diver Pat McCormick wins the 3m springboard gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics with 142.46 points; later wraps up the women's double when she takes the 10m platform gold

  • Dec 5 17 year old British swimmer Judy Grinham and American Carin Cone both swim world record 1:12.9 in the women's 100m backstroke at the Melbourne Olympics; Grinham is awarded gold medal
  • Dec 5 Soviet artistic gymnast Larisa Latynina wins the women's vault and ties for gold in the floor exercise section at the Melbourne Olympics; later takes gold total to 4 with teams and individual all-round titles
  • Dec 5 Danish sailer Paul Elvstrøm wins the Finn class gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics; his 2nd straight Finn gold and 3rd consecutive Olympic gold in sailing
  • Dec 6 Australian swimmer David Theile sets world record 1:02.2 to win the 100m backstroke gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics
  • Dec 6 Australian women's 4 × 100m freestyle relay team of Dawn Fraser, Faith Leech, Sandra Morgan & Lorraine Crapp swim world record 4:17.1 and beat powerful US team to win the gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics
  • Dec 6 Against the background of the Soviet invasion of Hungary the nations square off at the Melbourne Olympics in a famous water polo match; game called off with Hungary leading 4-0 and near riot halted by police; Hungary goes on to win gold medal
  • Dec 6 Randhir Singh Gentle scores the winner as India beats Pakistan, 1-0 in the Melbourne Olympics field hockey final to win it's 6th consecutive gold medal in the sport
  • Dec 6 German WWII prisoner of war Helmut Bantz and Soviet gymnast Valentin Muratov tie for the vault gold medal with 18.85 points at the Melbourne Olympics
  • Dec 6 Soviet gymnast Viktor Chukarin follows his parallel bars gold medal with the individual all-round title and teams gold at the Melbourne Olympics
  • Dec 7 Australian swimmer Murray Rose claims his 3rd gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics when he wins the 1,500m in 17:58.9; also wins 400m & 4 x 200m relay
  • Dec 7 American diver Pat McCormick wraps up the women's double when she wins the 10m platform gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics with 84.85 points; also won the 3m springboard gold
  • Dec 7 Soviet artistic gymnast Larisa Latynina takes her gold medal tally to 4 at the Melbourne Olympics; wins teams and individual all-round titles having earlier won vault and floor exercise sections
  • Dec 8 Start of an Olympic tradition; amidst international tensions, athletes mingle together as they parade into and around arena for a final appearance to close Melbourne Games

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 13 Dodgers trade Jackie Robinson to Giants for pitcher Dick Littlefield & $35,000. Robinson will retire rather than be traded.

Baseball Player Jackie Robinson
Baseball Player
Jackie Robinson
  • Dec 18 Phil Rizzuto signs as NY Yankee radio-TV announcer
  • Dec 18 Ballon d'Or: Blackpool & England winger Stanley Matthews wins inaugural award for best football player in Europe; beats Real Madrid pair Alfredo Di Stéfano & Raymond Kopa

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 25 Detroit's future Hockey Hall of Fame right wing Gordie Howe picks up a Xmas hat-trick & 3 assists in Red Wings' 8-1 win over NY Rangers; most points he scores in a single game in entire 26-year NHL career

Ice Hockey Legend Gordie Howe
Ice Hockey Legend
Gordie Howe
  • Dec 27 45th Davis Cup: Australia beats USA in Adelaide (5-0)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 27 Bill Sharman (Boston) ends NBA free throw streak of 55 games

NBA Guard Bill Sharman
NBA Guard
Bill Sharman
  • Dec 30 National Football League Championship, Yankee Stadium, NYC: New York Giants beat Chicago Bears, 47-7; Giants' 4th NFL title

Birthdays in Sport

  • Dec 4 Bernard King, American basketball player (NY Knicks, NJ Nets), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • Dec 4 Blagoi Blagoyev, Bulgarian 82.5 kg weightlifer (Olympic silver 1976), born in Veliki Preslav, Bulgaria
  • Dec 5 Klaus Allofs, German footballer (1. FC Köln), born in Düsseldorf, West Germany

Person of interestLarry Bird

Dec 7 Larry Bird, American NBA star (Boston Celtics, 12-time NBA All Star), born in West Baden, Indiana

NBA Legend Larry Bird
NBA Legend
Larry Bird
  • Dec 12 Johan van der Velde, Dutch cyclist (won Young Rider Classification of Tour de France 1980), born in Rijbergen, Netherlands
  • Dec 13 Dale Berra, American baseball infeilder (Pittsburgh Pirates, NY Yankees), born in Ridgewood, New Jersey
  • Dec 13 Phil Hubbard, American basketball player (Olympic gold 1976), born in Canton, Ohio
  • Dec 14 Hanni Wenzel, German alpine ski racer (Olympic-2 gold-1980), born in Straubing, Bavaria, West Germany
  • Dec 19 Tom Lawless, American baseball player
  • Dec 21 Kevin Burnham, American 470 sailor (Olympic 8th 1992, 96), born in Hollis, New York City
  • Dec 23 Michele Alboretto, Italian racing driver (Ferrari), born in Milan, Italy
  • Dec 25 Mansoor Akhtar, cricketer (Pakistani batsman early 80's)
  • Dec 27 Doina Melinte, Romanian running star (world record 1500 m/mile indoor)

Weddings in Sport


HeartWedding of Interest

Dec 9 NBA player Bill Russell (22) weds college sweetheart Rose Swisher

Basketball Player Bill Russell
Basketball Player
Bill Russell