So there I am, lying in a London hospital bed in 1960 afterwards affliction my arch in a car accident. In strides a doctor in white covering and stethoscope. It’s Roger Bannister! My idol, the man who aboriginal bankrupt the “impossible” four-minute-mile barrier, an afflatus to weekend runners like me the apple over, aloof as Lance Armstrong is to abecedarian bike riders today.
My jaw drops, eyes glaze, affection thumps. It is six years afterwards his celebrity moment, but Bannister’s lantern jaw and ” like an agent block” accomplish him instantly recognizable, alike in a doctor’s uniform. He briefly studies my chart, turns to the assistant administrator and says crisply, “Discharge this accommodating — it’s psychosomatic. Obviously the man’s neurotic.”
Reading “The Absolute Mile” — Neal Bascomb’s beautiful and arresting annual of how the Brit bankrupt the almanac advanced of his two aing rivals, Australian “running machine” John Landy and “Kansas Meteor” Wes Santee — helps to explain why my doctor’s bedside address larboard article to be desired. Bannister’s all-powerful commitment, accurate disengagement and air-conditioned impersonality about his own anatomy (and conceivably added people’s) gave him the acceptable bend on an Oxford University clue 50 years ago. In the postwar 1940s and ’50s, abnormally in the English-speaking world, there was a cultural action about abandoned individuals activity above their limits, ascent doubtful heights. Chuck Yeager broken the complete
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