Britain sports icon Roger Bannister pass away aged 88


Roger Bannister, the United Kingdom athlete who as a medical student six decades ago became the first person to run a mile in less than four minutes, has died, the BBC reported.

Bannister, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 2011, died at his home in Oxford, his family said in a brief announcement on Sunday, reports Xinhua news agency.

Bannister, who was a medical student at the time, clocked a time of 3 minutes 59.4 second at a sports ground in Oxford on May 6, 1954, to beat a record by Swedish runner Gundar Haegg of 4:01.4 that had stood for nine years.

Cram, who broke the mile world record in 1985, told Reuters in Birmingham:"Bannister really started off that great British tradition of great middle-distance runners which people like Seb (Coe), Steve (Ovett) and myself were able to continue". It was the first time two men had run under 4 minutes in the same race.

Bannister, known for strong finishes, passed Landy in the final turn to win what became known as the "Miracle Mile".

He was named the first chairman of the English Sports Council in 1971, and remained in that position until 1974.

"It's wonderful 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.

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Indeed, in a tweet from British Prime Minister Theresa May, Bannister was recognized as an "icon" whose accomplishments served to inspire generations.

Australian Landy led for most of the race but Bannister passed him on the final bend and won the race by almost a second, both men going under four minutes and Bannister running a career-best 3:58.8.

"I think that racing in the Olympics and Commonwealths is more important than breaking records", Bannister said in 2014.

"This is a day of intense sadness both for our nation and for all of us in athletics", said IAAF president Lord Coe, who set the record in the mile in 1981.

With Chris Brasher setting the pace on the cinder track, they ran a first lap in 57.5 seconds, then 60.7 - 1:58.2 for the half mile.

TeamGB: "We are incredibly saddened by the death of Sir Roger Bannister, aged 88".

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 only minutes away from the track where he set the record.