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Well known Eastern Southland athlete, Lynley McMeeken attended Olympic Games in Melbourne for a trip of a life time.
Lynely McMeeken (nee Archer) a well known Eastern Southland sports woman, has arrived home from the 1956 Olympic Games in Australia. She said the games in Melbourne were well organised and nothing was forgotten. Lynley described the opening ceremony as a riot of colour with the sun shining down on the flags of the competing nations. Her favourite uniforms were that of the Canandian Girls who had red pleated skirts, white hats and white gloves with reefer jackets finished with gold buttons.
Lynley spent one day at every event and saw the Australian power-house swimmers win in record times. She was impressed with the Japanese girls at the gymnastics who she described as 'lithe as cats'.
The closing ceremony was as spectacular as the opening and the athletes exchanged hats, sometimes with amusing results. One Australian girl was sporting an astraghan fez, formerly belonging to a member of the Afghanistan team.
With a tinge of sadness and the Olympic flame dying the crowd led by a choir of 1500 sang 'the song of farewell' specially composed for the occasion to the tune of 'Walzing Matilda'. And then the flags representing each nation were carried out by the flag bearers.
Afterwards Lynley spent some time in Melbourne sight seeing and saw a show in which former Invercargill girl, Alwyn Leckie, had a starring role. She later joined Alwyn in her dressing room and said she was charming and fitting ambassador for New Zealand.
Alwyn Leckie has achieved fame by becoming Australia's first woman television star.
Lynley spent a few days in Sydney and said she noticed that the fashions was the wearing of the skirt just an inch or two below the knee. Separates are worn a lot and extremely high heels are popular as well. She was taken by the far greater variety of accessories and shoes all in wide range of colour and materials.
This trip gave inspiration to Lynley to try and compete in the Rome Olympics in 1960.
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