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Sir Roger Bannister: Tributes flood in for man who made impossible possible

05 March, 2018, 01:00 | Author: Lula Armstrong
  • Credit Associated Press

Record-breaking British athlete Roger Bannister, the first man to run a mile in under four minutes, has died aged 88, his family announced on Sunday.

His time was 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds and the crowd erupted into rapturous cheers as soon as the announcer read out "three", confirming he'd broken the four-minute mile.

In 2011, the Olympian was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

"He banked his treasure in the hearts of his friends", they added, in a statement published by the Press Association news agency.

"It's unbelievable that more people have climbed Mount Everest than have broken the 4-minute mile", Bannister said in an interview with The Associated Press in 2012.

"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".

"Sir Roger Bannister was more than simply one of the greatest athletes of all time — by breaking the 4-minute mile he redefined what was thought impossible, and inspired the world".

He attended schools in London and Bath, proving himself a skilled student and runner and earning a scholarship to Oxford University, where he studied medicine while continuing to shine in mile and 1,500-meter track competitions.


He might not have set the milestone but for the disappointment of finishing without a medal in the 1,500 meters, known as the metric mile, in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki.

Coe and Steve Cram, who followed in the spike tracks of the sport's first sub-four minute miler to also become world beaters, emphasised that, while Bannister had been their running hero, he meant so much more to the life of his home nation.

"On May 6, 1954, Roger made the impossible possible", Coe, now the president of athletics' world governing body the IAAF, said on iaaf.org.

I'm so sorry to hear the sad news about Roger Bannister.

Bannister was chosen as Sports Illustrated's first Sportsman of the Year in 1954.

Bannister considered that victory even more satisfying than the first 4-minute mile because it came in a competitive race against his greatest rival.

"At the age of 88 he was still an active supporter of the University and we will miss him enormously". With his wife, Moyra Jacobsson, a portrait painter and daughter of a Swedish economist, he had four children.

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