Moments of Melbourne, Part 14 - Friday, December 7th, 1956

While Dawn Fraser had become the female national sports icon of Australia, Murray Rose followed in her footsteps 24 hours later. On the last evening of competition at Melbourne's indoor pool, the 17 year old from Sydney shattered his opponents once more, winning the grueling 1500 meters freestyle to become the youngest sportsman until this day to win three golds at one single Olympics. Before, Rose had also won the 400 meters freestyle and had been a member of Australia's successfull 4 x 200 meters freestyle relay team (picture: The Herald Sun).

Three days earlier, Rose's duel with Japan's Tsuyoshi Yamanaka in the 400 meters final had marked one of the highlights of Melbourne. After Rose had won the race in the world record time of 4.27.3 minutes, edging out Yamanaka by three seconds, he told reporters that the two had met in the Olympic Village shortly before the competition: "I said to him: Tsuyoshi Ymanaka san, I am older than you. I am twelve days older than you and I want you always to respect your elders." Even after years, Rose used to tell this anecdote with a big smile on his face (picture: Olympic). In the 1500 meters, Yamanaka again came in second behind the Australian

Wit, grit and charisma have always been trademarks of Rose, who was born in Birmingham, England. His parents left the country after the beginning of World War II when Murray was still an infant and moved to Sydney. Rose learned to swim in an enclosed saltwater pool at Double Bay.

After the Melbourne Olympics, Rose moved to Los Angeles and studied at the University of Southern California. In 1960 at Rome, he took home another gold in the 1500 meters before concentrating on his career as an actor, TV sports commentator and marketing businessman. It was years after his sporting career when Rose gave up on a special habit he used during his swimming days: He was a strict vegetarian, which earned him the nickname "The Seewead Streak".

In 1994, Murray Rose returned to Sydney, where he died from leukaemia on April 15th, 2012 (picture: Daily Telegraph).

News of the day: In swimming, Lorraine Crapp of Australia wins the women's 400 meters freestyle, while American Patricia McCormick grabs another gold in women's platform diving +++ One day after the bloody match against the USSR, Hungary gets the gold in Water Polo +++ Italian cyclist Ercole Baldini comes in first in the road race, the team competition is won by France.

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