In anticipation of Sports Illustrated’s 2014 Sportsman of the Year, this week’s Throwback Thursday honors SI's inaugural sportsman: Sir Roger Bannister, who ran the first sub-four-minute mile.
After failing to win a medal in the 1500m race at the 1952 Olympics, Bannister decided to become the first to run a mile under four minutes, a feat many thought impossible. But as several runners, including Australian John Landy, approached the four-minute mark, it simply became a matter of who would break the record first.
The day came on May 6, 1954, during a meet at Oxford, the 25-year-old’s alma mater. Due to the windy conditions, Bannister didn’t decide to race until half an hour before it was set to start, and by then, a BBC cameraman was already there to capture the event.
At 6 p.m., Bannister and his pacemakers Chris Brasher and Chris Chataway took off into the lead. Bannister ran the four laps around Iffley Road Track and collapsed into the arms of spectators as he crossed the finish line. The announcer then declared that Bannister had set a new world record with a time of 3:59.4.