Tributes flood in for athletics hero Sir Roger Bannister

Mar 05, 2018, 00:59
Tributes flood in for athletics hero Sir Roger Bannister

In 2015, the two-mile record was smashed by Mo Farah, who ran the distance in eight minutes 3.4 seconds, and this was his first world record.

"It will go on being broken until it gets down to 3:30", Bannister said in an interview with the Independent newspaper in 2004.

Roger Bannister, the first person to run a mile in under four minutes - a test of speed and endurance that was one of the defining sports achievements of the 20th century - died Saturday in Britain, his family confirmed.

The enduring image of the lanky Oxford medical student - 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 lifted the spirits of Britons still suffering through postwar austerity.

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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. "What a great period that must have been to be alive".

Bannister gained global sporting glory on May 6, 1954, when he ran a mile (1.6 kilometres) in three minutes 59.4 seconds at the Iffley Road track in Oxford.

Roger Bannister breaks the four-minute mile on May 6, 1954. Bannister's assault allowed mankind to enter a world filled with new possibilities.

Steve Cram, another British mile world record breaker, said on BBC Radio 5 Live: "To have Roger Bannister as a Brit having done that was something I used so often over the years to inspire me individually". I met him several times throughout my career and he was always humble, supportive and encouraging.

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"None of my athletics was the greatest achievement", he once said. It was as much of a psychological barrier as it was a physical barrier.

"We have all lost a giant and, for many of us, a deep and close friendship". "It is very hard to break records during Olympic competition, but winning races was better than holding world records".

"Every athlete owes a great debt of gratitude to Sir Roger Bannister", Johnson told the BBC."He set up the idea for athletes of pushing the limits of human achievement, like (long jumper) Bob Beamon went on to do". He was a true gentleman, and an inspiration to us all, young and old.

Steve Ford, chief executive of Parkinson's United Kingdom said: "We're very saddened to hear of the death of Sir Roger Bannister".

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