Roger Bannister, First to Break the 4-Minute Mile, Dead at 88

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Sir Roger Bannister, who was the first man to run a mile in under four minutes, died on Saturday in Oxford, England, the BBC reports.

That set the stage for the showdown between Bannister and Landy at the Empire Games, now called the Commonwealth Games, in Vancouver, British Columbia on August 9, 1954.

Bannister, who had Parkinson's disease since 2011, died in Oxford, where the runner achieved the feat in 1954. "Although I tried in 1953, I broke the British record, but not the 4-minute mile, and so everything was ready in 1954".

"On May 6, 1954, Roger made the impossible possible", Coe, now the president of athletics' world governing body the IAAF, said on

In March of 1994, Sir Roger Bannister holds a photograph of himself breaking the four-minute mile barrier for the first time on May 6, 1954. Supposedly, the smartest and most plugged-in observers had concluded that human beings simply were not capable of running a mile in less than four minutes, and so Bannister's having done it was not only a historic achievement, but a scientific one too.

"It was as much a psychological as it was a physical barrier and Bannister's success allowed mankind to enter a new world filled with possibilities", he added.

At the world indoor championships, the news cast a shadow over the final day of events on Sunday with the sell-out crowd in Arena Birmingham breaking into long applause after a special tribute to Bannister was screened.

"His achievement transcended sport, let alone athletics".

"His achievement was a moment in history that lifted the hearts of a nation and boosted the morale of a world still at a low ebb after the war".

"We have all lost a giant and, for many of us, a deep and close friendship".

The 25-year-old Bannister had reached "one of man's hitherto unattainable goals", the New York Times reported the next day.

Some of the biggest names in athletics as well as politicians and celebrities took to Twitter to celebrate a great British hero. He met with Sir Roger Bannister several times in the years before his death. "It is very hard to break records during Olympic competition, but winning races was better than holding world records".

"It will go on being broken until it gets down to 3:30", Bannister said in an interview with the Independent newspaper in 2004.

"He was running on cinder tracks, not tarmac tracks", he said.

Tributes have flooded in for record-breaking athlete Sir Roger Bannister following his death at the age of 88.

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