"Miracle Mile" event was commemorated in a life-size bronze sculpture. Landy shrugged off his loss with a quip "While Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt for looking back, I am probably the only one ever turned into bronze for looking back." If you watch the video (crap production values with cropped heads and poor panning) to the end you can hear Bannister's plummy accent complementing his antipodean rival and vice-versa. What really sticks in the mind, however, is Bannister's persistent cough. I can find no evidence that Bannister was a smoker but it is well known that Chris Chataway was - he only lived to the age of 83!
immortal sporting fame in 1956, and another sculpture [L] for being sporting. At the Australian National Championships, which preceded the Melbourne Olympic Games, Ron Clarke and John Landy and a handful of other great runners lined up to race in the 1500m. Just over halfway through the race, Ron Clarke had his heel clipped by another runner and sprawled to the ground immediately in front of Landy, who had to jump over the body or fall himself. His spikes gashed Clarke's arm and Landy stopped to see if his rival was alright. He stopped for half a second, apologised and then hared off after the pack. Amazingly, despite the deficit and lost time, he went on to win the race! Or as an eyewitness put it "Landy then did the most incredible, stupid, beautiful, foolish, gentlemanly act I have ever seen. He stopped, ran back to the fallen Ron Clarke and helped him to his feet, brushed cinders from knees and, checking his injured shoulder, said 'Sorry'." That should remind you of a parallel Blob story from the NYC women's marathon when Derarta Tulu hung back to help an injured Paula Radcliffe and then cruised off to win the race. If you watch the movie of Landy's act of courtesy, you'll see that he takes a short-cut off the track immediately after leaving Clarke. Surely that would result in a disqualification in any world where the letter of the rules over-rides their spirit. Landy didn't have the killer instinct, but we like him all the more for it.
Delany, Bannister, Landy and Clarke are all still alive and kicking; although Bannister, a consultant neurologist, has been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.
Another piece in the sport-from-the-sofa series.