Canberra [Australia], February 26 (ANI): The 1956 Olympic bronze medallist, former world 1500m and mile record-holder John Landy has died at the age of 91.
The Australian, born in Melbourne in 1930, is best known for becoming the second man in history to break four minutes for the mile. His 3:58.0 clocking in Turku in June 1954 broke the iconic mark of 3:59.4 achieved just six weeks earlier by Roger Bannister.
Landy's generosity of spirit and interest in others was one of his notable character traits. It was augmented by an uncanny memory for names and faces. This generosity famously extended to giving advice to Ireland's Ron Delany, who defeated Landy in the 1500m at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games.
Landy was Australian champion on five occasions - taking gold over 800yards, one mile and three miles. He was inducted into the Athletics Australia Hall of Fame in 2004. Its luncheon series is named in his honour. He was a proud and respected member of Athletics International.
He became a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1955 and received the Australian Sports Medal in 2000. A year later he received the Centenary Medal and was made a Companion of the Order of Australia.
Landy was governor of Victoria from 1 January 2001 to 7 April 2006. He was the final runner in the Queen's Baton Relay at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, receiving the baton from Olympic teammate and fellow state governor Marjorie Nelson, and delivering it to Queen Elizabeth II.
A passionate naturalist, photographer and environmentalist, he was author of two books - Close to Nature (1984) and A Coastal Diary (1993). He was a lifelong butterfly collector, donating his collection to the Australian Museum in Sydney in 2018.
"Our world is poorer without John Landy in it," said World Athletics President Sebastian Coe in a statement on Saturday. "I was privileged to know him well. He was a charming, kind and decent man who just happened to be one of the great pioneers of the golden age of middle-distance running in the 1950s."
"He maintained his huge enthusiasm for athletics right to the end and was one of its great ambassadors. Our sport owes him a huge debt. I am deeply saddened by his passing and, on behalf of World Athletics, I send my heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and to the wider athletics community for whom he was such a beloved figure," Coe added. (ANI)