Bannister v Landy, 1954 Empire Games Mile, Vancouver, Canada
“The build-up to this race was incredible. Athletics, as one of the truly international sports, had followers all over the world. The first four-minute mile had captured the imagination of millions. And now the first two runners to have broken that barrier earlier in the summer, Roger Bannister and John Landy, were to meet in the Vancouver Empire Games.
“The race received huge coverage in the world press. It was given an array of names, The Miracle Mile, The Mile of the Century. As well, the television cameras were ready to supply the new medium live to an estimated 10 million North American viewers. Radio provided live coverage to the rest of the world. Bannister and Landy had become celebrities, hunted down by reporters and cameramen as soon as they arrived in Vancouver.”
Bannister: “At Vancouver [Landy] had the courage to lead at the same speed in a closely competitive race. His boldness forced me to abandon my time schedule and lose myself quite completely in the struggle itself.”
Landy: “I’d rather lose a 3:58 mile than win one in 4:10.”
Just a few metres from the bronze statue of Bannister and Landy, is another image celebrating sport in Vancouver. More colourful and more modern -even post-modern- a prosaic mosaic featuring a self-involved little fella I like to call “Sports Bro.”