A bygone era of gifted amateur athletes died with Roger Bannister this week. The first man to break the four-minute mile in 1954, while working as a junior doctor and only training part-time, it shot him to instant celebrity. He gave up competitive running a few months later and became an acclaimed neurologist. He once said that athletes should not get too hung up if they enjoy a few drinks or even the odd cigarette and that “you don’t have to make your life boring to be a good runner”. He later said that he deplored the “narrow professionalism” of sport in the modern age.
Born 23 March 1929, he was a Sun Uranus in Aries squaring onto a disciplined Saturn in Capricorn opposition Mars in Cancer; with a Grand Trine of Saturn trine Venus in Taurus trine Neptune in final degree Leo. Neptune often occurs strongly aspected in sportsmen’s charts, as does that odd mid Aquarius degree where his Sun/Saturn sat.
When he cracked the world record and fulfilled his dream tr Neptune was opposition his Jupiter/Uranus midpoint, which can either lead to disappointment or good fortune. And he always modestly put his world-breaking feat down to luck.
Those were the days athletes competed for fun and didn’t fuss too much. C B Fry equalled the world record for the long jump, between puffs on a cigar.