1999, 55 Minutes
The 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games has become etched in Australian mythology as a watershed in the nation’s sporting, cultural and civic history. But behind the myth is a far more revealing story.
Following the Second World War a small group of Victorian amateur athletes, with less than seven pounds in their bank account, dreamt of bringing the Olympic Games to Melbourne. Against all odds, they realised their fanciful dream and the Games of the XVI Olympiad became a watershed in Australia’s sporting, civic and cultural history.
But behind the myth of the 1956 Olympics is a far more revealing story - an epic saga, spiced with petty squabbles, lies and broken promises that created world news during the lead up to the Games - which almost saw the IOC strip the event from Melbourne.
After years of crises, the most prestigious international sporting event in the world finally went ahead for the first time in the Southern Hemisphere and the opening ceremony was hailed as the most impressive ever staged. But coinciding with the height of the Cold War, tensions between the USSR and the USA threatened to derail the Games. Behind the scenes, the Melbourne Olympics were nearly undone by superpower skulduggery, defections and even murder involving the highest offices of Australian Olympic and political power.
Lies, Spies & Olympics is the dramatic, untold story of the Melbourne Olympic Games— an event marking Australia’s rite of passage, by the skin of its teeth, into the community of nations.
A Film Australia National Interest Program in association with Rob McAuley Productions. Produced with the assistance of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Director/Writer: Peter Butt
Narrator: Sandy McCutcheon
Running Time: 55 Minutes
Curriculum Links: Civics & Citizenship, Studies of Society, History, Politics, Media, English.