LONDON: British athlete Roger Bannister, the first man to run a mile in under four minutes, has died aged 88, British media reported on Sunday, citing a statement from his family.
Bannister became the first man to break the four-minute mile when he clocked three minutes 59.4 seconds at a sports ground in Oxford on May 6, 1954.
British Prime Minister Theresa May led the tributes to the former athlete.
“Sir Roger Bannister was a great British sporting icon whose achievements were an inspiration to us all. He will be greatly missed,” she said on Twitter.
FILE PHOTO: Sir Roger Bannister walks over the same finish line at the Iffley Road running track in Oxford that he crossed fifty years ago when he was the first man to run the sub four minute mile, May 6, 2004. — Reuters
This is a day of intense sadness both for our nation and for all of us in athletics. There is not a single athlete of my generation who was not inspired by Roger and his achievements both on and off the track. https://t.co/8lcErw8Oad— Seb Coe (@sebcoe) March 4, 2018
Sir Rchard Bannister's story has been truly inspirational, and he is considered one of history's greatest athletes.
Here's an interview he gave in 2016.
Roger Bannister's feat
On 6th May 1954, Roger Bannister ran the first sub-4-minute mile at Iffley Road, Oxford.
FILE PHOTO: Sir Roger Bannister, who ran the first sub-four-minute mile in 1954, holds the stop watch used by Harold Abrahams to time the race during 50th anniversary celebrations at Pembroke College, Oxford, May 6, 2004. — Reuters
He held his world record for just six weeks before his great rival, John Landy of Australia, broke it by more than a second with a time of 3:58.0.
The stage was now set for a dramatic showdown between the two runners in the final of the One Mile at the Empire Games in Vancouver on 7th August 1954.
This race proved to be probably the most exciting mile race ever run and is still known as the "Miracle Mile".
A statue stands in Vancouver to commemorate its moment of highest drama, when John Landy looked back over his left shoulder just as Roger Bannister passed him on his right.
Of that instant John Landy said, "When Lot's wife looked back she was turned into a pillar of salt. When I looked back I was turned into a pillar of bronze!".