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Bannister, Sir Roger

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Bannister, Sir Roger

Born : 23 March 1929
City : Harrow, England, United Kingdom
Rank : ( 1181 )
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Bannister, Sir Roger Biography

Early life and education

Bannister was born in Harrow, England. He went to Vaughan Primary school in Harrow before going on to be educated at City of Bath Boys' School, University College School, London, followed by medical school at the University of Oxford (Exeter College and Merton College), and at St Mary's Hospital Medical School (now part of Imperial College London)

Early running career

Bannister was inspired by miler Sydney Wooderson's remarkable comeback in 1945. Eight years after setting the mile record and seeing it surpassed during the war years by the great Swedish runners Arne Andersson and Gunder Hägg, Wooderson regained his old form and challenged Andersson over the distance in several races. Wooderson lost to Andersson but set a British record of 4:04.2 in Gothenburg on 9 September.

Like Wooderson, Bannister would ultimately set a mile record, see it broken, and then set a new personal best slower than the new record.

Bannister started his running career at Oxford in the autumn of 1946 at the age of 17. He had never worn running spikes previously or run on a track. His training was light, even compared to the standards of the day, but he showed promise in running a mile in 1947 in 4:24.6 on only three weekly half-hour training sessions.

He was selected as an Olympic "possible" in 1948 but declined as he felt he was not ready to compete at that level. However, he was further inspired to become a great miler by watching the 1948 Olympics. He set his training goals on the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki.

Memorabilia

In the gallery of Pembroke College dining hall there is a cabinet containing over 80 exhibits covering Bannister's athletic career and including some academic highlights

St Mary's Hospital (London), Imperial College School of Medicine have named a lecture theatre after Bannister, with the stopwatch used to time the race on display, stopped at 3:59. Bannister has also given his name to both the trophy presented to the winning team in the annual Imperial College School of Medicine vs Imperial College London athletics Varsity match, as well as the award giving to the graduating doctor of Imperial College School of Medicine who has achieved most in the sporting community.

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