On August 7, 1954 during the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver, B.C., England’s Roger Bannister and Australian John Landy met for the first time in the one mile run at the newly constructed Empire Stadium.
Both men had broken the four minute barrier previously that year. Bannister was the first to break the mark with a time of 3:59.4 on May 6th in Oxford, England. Subsequently, on June 21st in Turku, Finland, John Landy became the new record holder with an official time of 3:58.
The world watched eagerly as both men approached the starting blocks. As 35,000 enthusiastic fans looked on, no one knew what would take place on that historic day.
Promoted as “The Mile of the Century,” it would later be known as the “Miracle Mile.”
With only 90 yards to go in one of the world’s most memorable races, John Landy glanced over his left shoulder to check his opponent’s position. At that instant Bannister streaked by him to victory in a Commonwealth record time of 3:58.8. Landy’s second place finish in 3:59.6 marked the first time the four minute mile had been broken by two men in the same race.
Such exhilarating events are common in sports but few are captured so dramatically. A moment that took only a fraction of a second was frozen in time forever.