Sir Roger Bannister, broke the four-minute-mile barrier, dies at 88

Sir Roger Bannister, broke the four-minute-mile barrier, dies at 88

Nearly 64 years ago, Sir Roger Bannister put Britain on the map with his astounding, record-breaking mile run in less than four minutes.

Bannister broke the four minute mile in Oxford on May 6, 1954, completing the feat in three minutes and 59.4 seconds, according to ESPN.

A statement released on behalf of Sir Roger's family said: "Sir Roger Bannister, died peacefully in Oxford on 3rd March 2018, aged 88, surrounded by his family who were as loved by him, as he was loved by them".

Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted: "Sir Roger Bannister was a great British sporting icon whose achievements were an inspiration to us all. He will be greatly missed".

He entered the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki as the United Kingdom record-holder in the mile, finishing a disappointing fourth in the 1,500-meter run. He clocked in at 3 minutes 59.4 seconds, a record at the time.

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That same year, 1954, Bannister won gold in the 1,500 meters at the European Championships.

Coe, who had learned the news just before the launch of a new IAAF Heritage initiative created to showcase the sport's former greats such as Bannister, said:"This is a day of intense sadness both for our nation and for all of us in athletics".

"He was an inspiration to those like me who sought to combine university with worldwide sport".

Bannister was chosen as Sports Illustrated's first Sportsman of the Year in 1954. He was a boy who "just ran anywhere and everywhere - never because it was an end in itself, but because it was easier for me to run than to walk", Bannister wrote in "The First Four Minutes", his 1995 memoir.

"We met when I was the youngest member of the first ever UK Sports Council set up in 1964 and he could not have been more welcoming or helpful".

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"I have seen, and looked after, patients with so many neurological and other disorders that I am not surprised I have acquired an illness", Bannister told BBC News in 2014.

After retiring from competitive racing, Bannister spent two decades as a neurologist in private practice, then turned full-time to research, specializing in autonomic failure - illness characterized by the failure of the central nervous system to respond automatically to stimuli.

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. "Those are real achievements".

Lord Patten of Barnes, Chancellor of Oxford University, said: "My wife and I were very sad to hear about Roger Bannister's death". They had two sons and two daughters and lived in a modest home only minutes away from the track where he made history.

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