1954 Commonwealth Games
(British Empire and Commonwealth Games)
second place in coverage. The Bannister-Landy race was the very first international sports coverage televised live to North America. For England and European fans, kinescopes of the race were flown by RAF jet bombers back to England so the race could be seen just hours later.
The world was watching. Landy (Australia) ran ahead of Bannister (England) for most of the race setting a fast pace from the beginning. As Landy neared the end he looked over his left shoulder to see where Bannister was. At that exact moment Bannister passed Landy on his right and when Landy looked ahead again he saw Bannister pulling away in front. From that point on it was Bannister's race. The finish saw Bannister taking gold at 3:58.8 and Landy getting silver at 3:59.6. Of the seven racers, only those two ran under 4 minutes. The race was so memorable that its known today as the Miracle Mile.
Although Miracle Mile was the centre of attention at the Games, the marathon that year was also memorable. Just minutes after the Miracle Mile ended marathon runner Jim Peters (England) entered the stadium to finish the last 385 yards of his race. But Peters was no longer running. In fact he could hardly walk. So fast was his pace in the marathon (20 minutes ahead of the next runner) that he didn't have the strength to finish.
After twenty-six gruelling miles, Peters stumbled, fell, picked himself up, over and over and over, reeling all over the track in his futile attempt to finish. The crowd of 70,000 in the stadium was sickened by the sight. Some even threw up in the stands while others turned away, tears in their eyes. No one knew what to do, and no one stepped in to stop him even though shouts from the stands called for it.
Peters, not able to think clearly, saw what he thought was the finish line and gave one last valiant attempt to finish and with the last of his strength slowly jogged to it. Unfortunately it was the finish line for the Miracle Mile. The marathon finish was on the other side of the track. Peters collapsed after crossing the wrong finish line and was taken to the hospital. Officially he's listed as disqualified because his English team trainer stepped in to help him when he collapsed. Jim Peters will be remembered for his athletic gallantry to keep trying when all was lost.
Top 18 Countries By Total Medals
Host country listed in bold, Australia in green.
Countries returning to the games were: Australia, Bermuda, British Guiana, Canada, England, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, New Zealand, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Scotland, South Africa, Trinidad & Tobago, Wales. Competing for the first time were: Bahamas, Barbados, Gold Coast, Kenya, Northern Rhodesia, Pakistan, Southern Rhodesia, Uganda.