John Landy died at the age of 91; Duel Roger Bannister in ‘Mile of the Century’

All in all, Landy was a sportsman, as shown in an astonishing moment during the 1956 Australian Athletics Championships in Melbourne, just before the Olympics there.

Landy entered the race hoping to break the world record for mileage. But as the race was underway, a 19-year-old competitor, Ron Clarke, was hit by a collision just striding ahead of him and falling to the track. Landy jumped over him and, as he did, accidentally stabbed him in the right shoulder. Landy stopped, ran over to Clarke, brushed the dust off Clarke’s knees, and said, “Sorry.”

“Continue,” Clarke said. “I’m okay.”

Clarke stood, he and Landy started behind the others, now 60 yards ahead. Landy caught them and won in 4:04.2.

Gordon Moyes, an Australian minister who was present, later called it “the most stupid, beautiful, stupid gentleman act I have ever seen”.

In that year’s Olympics, Landy was the favorite in the 1,500m. Before the final, he found Ron Delany, a young Irishman attending Villanova University, very nervous. Landy calms him down and says, “I think you can win this one, Ron.”

Delany did. Landy won the bronze medal.

John Michael Landy was born on 12 April 1930 in Melbourne. When he was young, he seemed to prefer collecting butterflies to running. But in 1948, at the age of 18, he won the Australian private school mile championship with a score of 4:43.8. That same year, one-year-old Bannister ran 4:11.0.

Landy was selected for the Australian team in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, but he had to pay the price in his own way. He was eliminated in his preliminary round when he finished fifth. (Bannister finished third in the same heat.) John Landy died at the age of 91; Duel Roger Bannister in ‘Mile of the Century’

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