Roger Bannister

Watch Roger Bannister’s sub-4-minute mile on 60th anniversary

Leave a comment

English medical student Roger Bannister ran one mile in 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds on May 6, 1954. The four-minute barrier has been broken by more than 1,000 men in the last 60 years, but Bannister will always be celebrated as the first.

“All I can say is that I’m instantly overwhelmed and delighted,” Bannister said 60 years ago, shortly after achieving his feat at the Iffley Road Track in Oxford. “It was a great surprise to me to be able to do it today, and I think I was very lucky.”

Bannister, now 85, performed what many thought at the time to be physically impossible. He’s long credited his two pace makers, Chris Brasher and Chris Chataway, and said that he considers his greatest life achievement not to be the 3:59.4 but his career as a neurologist after he retired from running later in 1954.

Bannister would win Sports Illustrated‘s first Sportsman of the Year Award for 1954 and then be knighted in 1975.

Bannister broke the world record by two seconds, but his mark lasted a mere 46 days. Australian rival John Landy clocked 3:58 on June 21, 1954. The record is now down to 3:43.13, set in 1999 by the two-time Olympic champion Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj. Bannister believes 3:30 will one day be possible (A 3:28 mile was done in 1983, but it was on a downhill course.).

Bannister ran his mile on a cool, windy evening 60 years ago. Brasher paced the first lap in 57.5 seconds and 1:58 for the half-mile. Chataway then took the lead and crossed three laps in front of about 3,000 spectators in 3:00.7. Bannister burst past Chataway on the back straight, needing to run the final 400m in 59 seconds.

“The world seemed to stand still, or did not exist,” Bannister later wrote. “The only reality was the next 200 hundred yards of track under my feet. The tape meant finality — extinction perhaps.

“I felt at that moment that it was my chance to do one thing supremely well. I drove on, impelled by a combination of fear and pride. …

“I leapt at the tape like a man taking his last spring to save himself from the chasm that threatens to engulf him. …

“I knew that i had done it before I even heard the time.”

An announcer began reading out the time, “Three … ” and the crowd drowned out the rest.

Technology makes Bannister’s feat even more impressive. Author David Epstein consulted biomechanics who said running on soft cinders as Bannister did in 1954 was 1.5 percent slower than on today’s synthetic tracks.

Bannister now lives with Parkinson’s disease in Oxford, a short distance from the site of his history-making run.

First Olympic gold-medal game basketball for sale

Russia track and field federation says no past dopers on Rio Olympic team

Russia
Getty Images
Leave a comment

If it is eligible for the Rio Olympics, Russia’s track and field federation (ARAF) said Tuesday it will not send any athletes convicted of doping in previous years to the Games.

The move was made as Russia’s track and field federation hopes to be reinstated to international competition on June 17 after it was suspended indefinitely in November for doping violations.

“The ARAF presidium has introduced amendments to the criteria of selecting athletes who will go to the Olympics,” a statement read Tuesday, according to a Russian news agency TASS translation. “The list of requirements now contains a special clause saying that any potential participant in the Olympics who proved to have used doping in the previous years cannot be a member of the Russian national team. The ARAF made this harsh decision for the sole purpose of doing its utmost to let clean athletes participate in the Olympics.”

The statement came after Russia media reported 11 Russian track and field athletes from the 2008 Beijing Games, including eight medalists, are among 31 athletes from 12 nations across six sports whose 2008 doping samples retested recently came up positive.

London Olympic high jump champion Anna Chicherova is on that list of 11 athletes.

MORE: Isinbayeva to sue if barred from Rio Olympics

Russian Olympic champion positive in Beijing retest, coach reportedly says

Anna Chicherova
Getty Images
Leave a comment

London Olympic high jump champion Anna Chicherova is one of many Russians among 31 athletes overall who tested positive in recent retests of Beijing Olympic samples, according to Russian news agency TASS.

TASS named nine 2008 Olympic medalists among 14 Russian athletes, citing a Russian TV report, including eight medalists in track and field, with Chicherova being the superstar of the group.

“Three days ago, Anna received a notice that her doping sample from the Beijing Olympic tested positive after a re-check, and she called me,” Chicherova’s coach said, according to TASS. “So far, this is at the development stage and this has not yet been finally confirmed. But all are aware of this and are dealing with the issue.”

Last week, the International Olympic Committee said 31 unnamed athletes from 12 nations across six sports failed drug tests in retesting of 454 samples from 2008 using the latest drug-testing methods.

Chicherova, 33, took high jump gold at the London Games and bronze in Beijing. She is one of two track and field athletes to earn an individual-event medal at the last five World Championships and last two Olympics. The other is Usain Bolt.

Chicherova, who has had no previously widespread reported doping history, would be one of Russia’s top Olympic track and field medal hopes in Rio, should the ban on Russian track and field athletes competing be lifted before the Games.

Russia is expected to learn if it will be allowed to send a track and field team to Rio on June 17.

MORE: Russia track and field boss: ’50-60 percent’ chance of Olympics