John Landy, the Australian athletics icon who famously stopped mid-race to help fellow runner Ron Clarke, has died. Landy was 91.
Landy, who is only the second man to have broken the four-minute record for the mile, died after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease.
The iconic runner won Olympic bronze in 1956 in the 1,500m event, and Commonwealth Games silver in 1954 for the 1,600m. He also held world records for the mile and the 1,500m.
Jan Swinhoe, president of Athletics Australia, spoke this week of how Landy’s contributions made to Australian athletics and sport had been immeasurable. He said his loss would be mourned not only by the Australian athletics community, but also by the wider community as a whole. Swinhoe also passed on his condolences to Landy’s family.
Aside from his incredible contributions to Australian athletics, Landy was also named the 26th governor of Victoria in 2001. He served this office until 2006. But perhaps above all else, he will be most famously remembered for his selfless performance in that legendary 1,500m final at the 1956 Australian Track and Field Championships.
During the event, several athletes tripped and fell during the third lap, including junior record-holder in the event, Ron Clarke. Instead of powering forward and using the situation to his personal advantage, Landy stopped first to check if Clarke had been injured during the fall. Only after this did he continue to chase down the leaders and ultimately win the event.
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