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"An unlikely champion" - Sydney Wooderson

The Telegraph reports: "Bespectacled, slight and only 5 ft 6 in tall, with hair immaculately groomed, he looked as though the merest breath of wind might knock him over. But his long stride enabled him to beat the best with an explosion of pace in the final lap." Sydney Wooderson who has just died at 92, was "one of the greatest British athletes of all time, at various stages the world record holder for the 800 metres, the half-mile, the three-quarter mile, and the mile."

According to the Telegraph , WG George was the first Briton to hold the world mile record, with 4:12.75 in 1886. Wooderson held the world record for the mile in 1937 (4:06.4). Coming fast down the track after him were Roger Bannister who was the first runner to break the four-minute-mile (3:59.4, 1954); Derek Ibbotson (3:57.2, 1957); Sebastian Coe (3:49.0, 1979; 3:48.53, 1981; 3:47.33, 1981); Steve Ovett (3:48.8, 1980 and 3:48.4, 1981); and Steve Cram (3:46.32, 1985).

Wooderson's race for the Mile of the Century in America in 1939 showed his gallantry. His race for the 5,000 metres title at the European championships in Oslo in 1946 showed how much guts he had.

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