Lucile Wheeler skiing

Cortina d’Ampezzo 1956

Team Canada Medal Count

Gold medal icon 0
Silver medal icon 1
Bronze medal icon 2

Flag Bearers

Opening Ceremony

Closing Ceremony

Games Summary

VII Olympic Winter Games

Four years before hosting the summer Olympic Games in Rome, Italy welcomed the world’s best winter athletes to Cortina d’Ampezzo, a resort in the Dolomites. For the first time, there was live television coverage. For the second straight Olympic Winter Games there was an Olympic flame, this one lit at one of Rome’s seven hills, the Capitoline.

These were the first Olympic Winter Games to include athletes from the Soviet Union, who were housed separately from the other delegations. They immediately went to the top of the medal table, led by three podium finishes from Pavel Kolchin who became the first non-Scandinavian to win a cross-country skiing medal. Soviet athletes also won gold in three of the four speed skating events.

It was the Soviets who brought an end to Canada’s ice hockey dominance. The Kitchener-Waterloo Dutchmen advanced to the medal round where they lost 4-1 to the United States. After the Soviets defeated the U.S. 4-0, they handed Canada a 2-0 loss, giving Canada the bronze medal for its lowest placement since ice hockey was added to the Olympic program. The unbeaten Soviets won gold.

Dafoe, Frances and Bowden, Norris skating

Lucile Wheeler became the first Canadian skier to win an Olympic medal with her bronze in the downhill. The star of the slopes was Austrian Toni Sailer who won all three men’s alpine events. Canada’s third medal of the Games was a silver in pairs’ figure skating by Frances Dafoe and Norris Bowden, the last time their sport would be held outdoors. In ski jumping, the Finns introduced a new aerodynamic style in which their arms were placed against their sides rather than forward, helping them win gold and silver.


Canadian Medallists

Event Athlete Finish Sport
Pairs - MixedFrances Dafoe, Norris BowdenSilverFigure Skating
MenDenis Brodeur, Charles Brooker, William Colvin, James Horne, Arthur Hurst, Byrle Klinck, Paul Knox, Ken Laufman, Howard Lee, James Logan, Floyd Martin, John McKenzie, Donald Rope, George Scholes, Gerry Theberge, Rob White, Keith WoodallBronzeIce Hockey
Downhill - WomenLucile WheelerBronzeSkiing - Alpine

Overall Medal Count

Rank Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
1Soviet Union73616
5United States2327
8Italy12 - 3
9Canada - 123
10Unified Team of Germany1 - 12
T12Poland - - 11
T12Hungary - - 11