Published: Mon, March 05, 2018
Sport | By Tony Jimenez

Roger Bannister dies at 88 years

Roger Bannister dies at 88 years

Mr. Bannister's family said in a statement that he died peacefully on Saturday in Oxford, the English city where the runner cracked the feat many had thought humanly impossible on a windy afternoon in 1954.

"But beyond that, he was part of that pioneering spirit which seemed to exist in the 1950s - with a new Queen on the throne, Everest being conquered, the new TV age and the idea that you could do anything you put your mind to in barrier-breaking".

Bannister, known for strong finishes, passed Landy in the final turn to win what became known as the "Miracle Mile".

On May 6, 1954, Bannister became the first man to break the four-minute mile when he ran it in 3:59.4 seconds at a sports ground in Oxford.

Olympic champion Mo Farah said: "I'm so sorry to hear the sad news about Roger Bannister".

Cram, who broke the mile world record in 1985, told Reuters in Birmingham:"Bannister really started off that great British tradition of great middle-distance runners which people like Seb (Coe), Steve (Ovett) and myself were able to continue".

At St. Mary's Hospital Medical School, Bannister turned the focus of his athletic training to the four-minute mile. His achievement opened the physical and psychological door for many other milers who have since beaten his time of three minutes 59.4 seconds. Bannister urged Brasher to go faster and at the halfway mark called on Chataway to take over from the tiring Brasher. In just a year, he showed his natural talent and ran a 4:24:06 mile on only three half-hour training sessions a week.

The image of the young Bannister - head tilted back, eyes closed and mouth agape as he strained across the finishing tape - captured the public's imagination, made him a global celebrity and boosted the morale of Britons still suffering through austerity measures.

While he will forever be remembered for his running, Bannister said he considered his contributions to neurology more satisfying. It was the first time two men had run under 4 minutes in the same race. Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco set the current world record of 3:43.13 on July 7, 1999.

Olympic gold medalist Sebastian Coe, president of the IAAF, the worldwide sports governing body, said Bannister's death was a "day of intense sadness both for our nation and for all of us in athletics".

He was also instrumental in initiating the first testing processes for anabolic steroids while serving as chairman of the British Sports Council in the 1970s.

"This is a day of intense sadness both for our nation and for all of us in athletics", said IAAF president Lord Coe, who set the record in the mile in 1981.

Coe ran a mile in a world record 3 minutes, 47.33 seconds in 1981 between winning gold medals in the 1,500 metres at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics.

"There is not a single athlete of my generation who was not inspired by Roger and his achievements both on and off the track". With his wife, Moyra Jacobsson, a portrait painter and daughter of a Swedish economist, he had four children. Chataway died in 2014 at 82.

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