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Roger Bannister, GBR

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Full Name: Roger Bannister
Born: 23rd March, 1929 (Harrow, London)
Age: ?
Weight: stone lbs/kg
Events: 800m/880yds, 1500m, 1 mile
Club: Achilles AC

Roger Bannister never won an Olympic medal and yet, in Britain, he is as famous as any athlete who ever did. His fame, further more, was achieved for running a non-Olympic event. But such was the mystery of becoming the first recorded human to run a mile in under 4 minutes that when he did so, his name and achievement became the deeds of legend.

1950

He won the bronze medal in the 800m at the European Championships.

1954

No sooner had he broken the barrier than his record (3min. 59.4secs) was bettered in Finland by John Landy (Australia) with a time of 3min. 58 sec. Chris Chataway again did much of the pace-setting, as he had indeed for Bannister six weeks earlier at Oxford University's Iffley Road track. 

Then came the clash of the Titans. The Empire (Commonwealth) Games in Vancouver was the occasion and Bannister and Landy were the star billing. It was now August but the Englishman was not to be beaten, winning with 3min. 58.8sec to Landy's 3min. 59.6sec. 

Three weeks later Bannister competed in the European Championships at 1500m, the so-called metric mile; this time it was to be Gold. He won in 3min. 43.8sec from Gunnar Nielsen in what was to be his last ever championship race. 

European Championships - Thanks to www.sporting-heroes.net

 

The same trio that had broken the mile record also attempted the 2 Mile record at the White City Stadium, London.

Roger Bannister leading Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher during an attempt at the British two miles record. - Thanks to www.sporting-heroes.net

Also in 1954 he set his fourth UK 1500m record, the same number of UK mile records that he established. But only one of those records will remain forever unique. Surprisingly, it was his close friend Chris Chataway who won that year's "BBC Sports Personality of the Year".

By the end of the year, with other matters more weighty to pursue, he retired from the track.