Sir Roger Bannister obituary

On a blustery spring evening in Oxford in the 1950s, Roger Bannister, who has died aged 88, became an athlete of world renown, establishing himself as the most celebrated British sportsman of the period following the second world war. He never won an Olympic title, he set only one individual world record (which he relinquished after barely six weeks) and he retired from running at the height of his powers when he was only 25. But on 6 May 1954, on the Iffley Road cinder track that he had helped to lay as an undergraduate a few years earlier, he ran a mile in under four minutes, a target that had begun to assume almost superhuman proportions in the eyes of the public, the media and many athletes, too.

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