"It all starts with desire, the drive to be the best. Fueled by my faith in my training, I will overcome all obstacles. I am brave! I am not afraid to face anyone on the track. I believe this is not a dream. It is my reality."
— Roger Bannister
Roger Bannister's impact on America—and the world—was immediate. The young Englishman changed the perception of human limitations when he broke a seemingly insurmountable barrier: the sub-four-minute mile. The Oxford University medical student used intense interval training, an innovative distance running and sprint technique, to fine-tune his speed. On May 6, 1954, at the British Amateur Athletic Association in Oxford, Bannister brought in a time of 3:59.4, hailed around the world as the "miracle mile."
Bannister's performance and new record captured the imagination of people around the world—especially Americans. "The Running Doctor" was the first international sports star celebrated in this country for his heroic accomplishments. He was Sports Illustrated's first Sportsman of the Year in 1955.
A psychological barrier was shattered. What once was impossible became standard. In a post-war world where technology was on the rise, Bannister's feat was viewed as an exhilarating testament to the power of the human body and spirit.
Name: Roger Gilbert Bannister
Born: Harrow, Middlesex, England, 1929–