Careful readers of our masthead on the following page this week will notice under Special Contributors a new but familiar name which takes its place first on the list. As a special contributor to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Dr. Roger Bannister, now a practicing physician and retired from competitive running, not only will appear from time to time as a columnist in these pages but in November will join SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's editorial team at the Olympic Games. His opening article will be part of our special Olympic issue planned for November 19. He will then report from Australia on the games as they are played.
The accident of the alphabet which makes Roger Bannister first among our special contributors is probably one of the few firsts in his career where accident has played anything more than an incidental role.
Instead, Bannister combined rare purposefulness and planning with his powers of imagination and physical and mental endurance to be first to break the mile's four-minute barrier; and the same qualities were discernible again three months later when he finished first in the "Mile of the Century" at Vancouver, defeating the great John Landy.
There are other firsts connected with Roger Bannister which have a special meaning for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. The story of the Vancouver mile led off our first issue, and no story in the long history of sport could have marked the occasion better. At the end of 1954, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED named its first Sportsman of the Year. It had to be Roger Bannister.
September 30, 1956
As those who read his autobiography in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED last year have reason to know, Bannister has already shown the same qualities in his writing which made him a great runner—keen perception and a sense of balance, proportion and humor.
In the concluding section of his autobiography Bannister wrote: "No one can say, 'You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.' The human spirit is indomitable."
One reason Roger Bannister could write these words is that he has proved them.