Gold Eluded Bannister, but Track Immortality Did Not
By John F. Burns, New York Times
OXFORD, England — When Sir Roger Bannister is asked whether he knew he was about to run into history as he lined up on a rain-dampened, blustery English running track 58 years ago for his bid to break the four-minute Mile barrier, he smiles, shakes his head, and replies as he has always done when people seek to cast him in a heroic light.
“Standing at the brink of history? That’s a pretty bold statement,” said the man many in Britain regard as the country’s most famous athlete, but who insists that he made a more important mark in his 40 years as one of Britain’s top neurologists, all of which came after his retirement from the track.
“That to me is a greater source of satisfaction than happening to move my body at a certain speed for a few moments in 1954,” Bannister, 83, said in a recent interview in the sun-dappled living room of his Oxford home, where family photographs and the paintings of his artist wife, Moyra, crowd out mementos of his athletic accomplishments.
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