The legendary middle-distance runner died peacefully in Oxford surrounded by family at the age of 88 on 3 March 2018.
“None of my athletics was the greatest achievement,” Bannister said. “My medical work has been my achievement and my family with 14 grandchildren. Those are real achievements.”
Below are some of the other significant accomplishments Bannister made throughout his life that, for better or worse, were overshadowed by what he did for three minutes, 59.04 seconds on the day of 6 May 1954.
He published more than 80 medical papers
Having studied medicine at Exeter College and Merton College at the University of Oxford and at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School, most of the papers published were to do with the automatic nervous system, cardiovascular physiology and multiple system atrophy.
He was a practising neurologist
Asked about his most important achievement by BBC sports correspondent Rob Bonnet, Bannister replied that it wasn’t the sub-four-minute mile, rather the 40 years he spent practising as a neurologist. Not only that, he also pioneered new procedures and edited five editions of Brain and Bannister’s Clinical Neurology. “It is the brain, not the heart or lungs that is the critical organ,” he was quoted as saying.
It is the brain, not the heart or lungs that is the critical organ.
He was the first Chairman of the Sports Council (now Sport England)
As well as significantly increasing government funding of sports centres and other sporting facilities between 1971 and 1974, Bannister also began the first testing for the use of anabolic steroids in sport.
He also served as President of the International Council of Sport and Physical Exercise
From 1976 to 1983, Bannister headed the umbrella group focused on applying the latest findings in the world of sport science. In addition, he led the Sport for All campaign that expanded access to sport across the UK.
Sir Roger Bannister was a great British sporting icon whose achievements were an inspiration to us all. He will be greatly missed.
— Theresa May (@theresa_may) March 4, 2018
He won the inaugural Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year award
As the inaugural recipient in 1954, the year he achieved his signature feat, Bannister is still one of only two Brits (the other being F1 driver Jackie Stewart) to have won the award. Only 10 non-Americans have won the award throughout its entire history.
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