These Games marked the debut of the USSR team, which immediately won more medals than any other nation. Their speed skaters won three of the four events, while their ice hockey team ended Canada’s domination.
Pavel Kolchin of the USSR became the first non-Scandinavian to earn a medal in cross country skiing. Madeleine Berthod of Switzerland celebrated her birthday by winning the downhill by an amazing 4.7 seconds. The U.S. dominated figure skating: Tenley Albright won the women’s title and Hayes Alan Jenkins led an all-American medal sweep on the men’s side.
Austrian Toni Sailer became the first Alpine skier to win three Olympic gold medals. He began by winning the giant slalom by 6.2 seconds, the largest margin of victory in Olympic history. He then won the slalom, recording the fastest time in both runs, and the downhill by 3.5 seconds.
The Olympic Oath was sworn by a female athlete for the first time. The honour was given to the Italian Alpine skier Giuliana Chenal-Minuzzo, bronze medallist in the downhill at the 1952 Oslo Games.
See the list of teams and medals won by each.
Cortina d'Ampezzo 1956 Ice Hockey MenCortina d'Ampezzo 1956 | Olympic Winter games