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1956 Melbourne Olympics

Wells good form in domestic competitions in New Zealand during 1956 had not escaped the notice of the Great Britain selectors, nor the fact that he current joint British recordholder with Alan Paterson, and he was duly included in the Great Britain team for the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne.

London Newspaper Report: "A stimulating story of a sportsman determined to triumph against odds," is the "News Chronicle's" description of the high jumper, Peter Wells, the first British athlete to qualify for selection for the Olympic Games in Melbourne by clearing 6ft 7β…œ at Christchurch. The British selectors had stipulated that only those who reached 6ft 7in would be considered for Melbourne. "Wells has been living in New Zealand since he competed for England there in the Empire Gamers in 1950," says the "News Chronicle". "Recently he took a new accountancy job at Amberley. There he was happy - until he found Amberley had no high jumping pit or equipment. So he made his own with wood shavings to soften his fall. Then he got to work in the back garden. Six weeks after rigging up his makeshift framework he cleared 6ft 7β…œin in an inter-district match"

He travelled with the New Zealand team to Melbourne, joined up with the Great Britain team on arrival, and travelled back to New Zealand with the New Zealand team at the conclusion of the Games.

NZ Press Association report: Peter Wells, the British high jump representative from Canterbury - he has been a resident of New Zealand since soon after the 1950 Olympic Games - cut a lonely figure at the Olympic Village on Monday afternoon. He had flown in from Christchurch with the main body of the New Zealand team, but unlike the Kiwi's, had no-one to meet him at either Essendon Airport or the Olympic Village. But eventually unable to get directions to the British quarters, he accepted a chance to get warm by helping to unload the New Zealanders' gear from a van. That over, he begged the driver to give him a lift towards the British section of the village. Replied the driver: "She's right mate. Hop in the back"

NZ Press Association Report: Peter Wells, New Zealand's adopted English high jumper, who will be competing for Britain at the Games, was delighted to find that his quarters are near the New Zealand section of the village. He competed for Britain at the 1952 Olympic Games but said today that he now knows far more members of the New Zealand team than the British.

Later in the Games, when many of the British athletes had left the village, Wells switched camps and moved in with the New Zealand team.

High Jump Competition

On Friday, November 23, 1956, Wells represented Great Britain in the High Jump at the 1956 Olympics, making the final. Only 10 athletes jumped higher than him, but he slipped back to 16th on count back.

One his event was over, and once most of the Great Britain team had left, Wells moved in with the New Zealand team, with who he felt more at home, for the rest of the Games.


Melbourne 1956