Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sir Peter Snell recalls his Tokyo double 50 years on

Sir Peter Snell was clearly an athletics freak, yet it can only be wondered what might have been missed had he not been inclined to check out what Arthur Lydiard had to offer as a coach.

Fifty years on from his finest expression of his abilities on the track in Tokyo at the 1964 Olympic Games, Peter Snell's feat in winning the 800m-1500m double has never been repeated by a male.

Clearly the most dominant middle-distance runner of his era, Snell achieved at a level that can only be admired, all the moreso with the passage of time. That the 800m world record he set, on grass, at Christchurch's Lancaster Park in 1962 still stands as New Zealand's best time over the distance is testimony enough to his class.

There were many other aspects of his career that demand admiration.

But it is his moves after competing in Tokyo, and then coming home to set two more world records at meetings in Auckland in November 1964, that provide a demonstration of his drive.

His subsequent move to study in the United States, and his achieving a doctorate in exercise physiology is just as inspiring in demonstrating that in spite of not making the most of his ability in academic terms in his youth, he was able to achieve subsequently.

It was no mean feat to be named New Zealand's Sportsman of the 20th Century but it was just one of a host of accolades this remarkable Kiwi achieved.

He spoke with me as a celebration of his Tokyo success 50 years on at Radio Live in Auckland in September 2014.

You can listen here: 

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