This was the first time that the Games had been held in Oceania.
Equestrian sports in Stockholm
To allow for the equestrian sports to be held and to avoid the problem of quarantine for horses entering Australia, the Games took place in two different cities (Stockholm and Melbourne), in two different countries (Sweden and Australia), on two different continents (Europe and Oceania) and in two different seasons (June and November). This is the only time in the Games' hundred-year existence that the unity of time and place, as stipulated in the Charter, has not been observed.
The two Germanys under one flag
The International Olympic Committee had great political success in managing to bring together the two Germanys (East and West) within a combined team (EUA) competing under a black, red and yellow flag with the Olympic rings, and with "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's IX Symphony as their anthem. This practice would take place for the following two editions of the Games.
The first Games boycott
The Soviet invasion of Hungary provoked protests from numerous western countries, and some of them, such as Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands, withdrew from the Games. On another matter, Egypt, Lebanon and Iraq refused to participate in protest of the Franco-British Suez intervention. And the People's Republic of China refused to participate because of the presence of the Republic of China (Taiwan). This conflict would take 28 years to be resolved.
All the athletes parading together
The 1956 Games were also marked by an innovation in the Closing Ceremony. Upon the suggestion of John Ian Wing, a Chinese apprentice carpenter living in Australia, it was decided to let all the athletes parade together, rather than by country, as a symbol of world unity.
In fencing, the electric foil was introduced, and in swimming, the semi-automatic, digital-display timing device appeared.
Melbourne 22 November 1956. Opening Ceremony. The Olympic flame is lit.
Official opening of the Games by: HRH the Duke of Edinburgh
Lighting the Olympic Flame by: Ron Clarke (athletics)
Olympic Oath by: John Landy (athletics)
Official Oath by: The officials' oath at an Olympic Summer Games was first sworn in 1972 in Munich.