Forty-five years ago, on a small track outside Oxford, England, Roger Bannister did what many had thought was physically impossible: He ran a mile in less than 4 minutes.
Bannister had won the intervarsity mile race at Oxford for four years in a row, but his best time was a pedestrian 4:16.2. The year after his graduation he placed a disappointing fourth at the 1952 Olympics at Helsinki.
As a medical student, Bannister became preoccupied with the idea of breaking the four-minute barrier. He began to train.
On May 6, 1954, he ran a mile in 3:59.4 with the help of two pacesetters at an informal meet.
Bannister is understated about his achievement today. "I was unsuccessful in 1952, but had a good year in 1954," he said by phone.
Bannister retired from running seven months later. He became a noted neurologist and was knighted in 1975. Today he lives in Oxford, where he is a consultant.
If you wonder 'Whatever happened to...' write us at: One Norway Street,
Boston, MA 02115 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last week's 'Whatever happened to...?' (Geraldine Ferraro, Sept. 2, Page 23) contained an error: Walter Mondale was defeated by Ronald Reagan in 1984.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society