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Sunday, 25 September 2011

Athlete

The Greek mythological Atalanta was the daughter of King Iasus, who had hoped for a son. Disappointed that instead she was a girl, he left her on a mountaintop to die. A she-bear suckled and cared for Atalanta until hunters found and raised her, and she became a strong huntress. Swift of foot, Atalanta refused to marry unless the suitors defeated her in a trace, and she killed those who lost.
Many young men died in the attempt to win her hand until Hippomenes outrun her. He won the race by dropping three irresistible golden apples, given to him by the goddess Aphrodite. Every time Atalanta got ahead of Hippomenes, he rolled an apple ahead of her, and she would stop to pick it up.

In 1888 Charles Sherill of Yale University’s track team became the first runner to use the crouching start for a fast getaway in a foot race.

In 1935, Jesse Owens set three track and field world records and tied a fourth in a single day in Ann Arbor, Michigan--all in less than an hour.


Roger Bannister became the first person to run a mile in under four minutes. He achieved this feat at Oxford, England, on May 6, 1954, in a time of 3 min 59.4 seconds. His world record lasted just 46 days before Australian John Landy, shaved 1.4 seconds off it.

Blue plaque recording the first sub-4-minute mile run by Roger Bannister on 6 May 1954 at Oxford University's Iffley Road Track.

Jim Hines of the United States of America became on October 14, 1968 the first man ever to break the ten-second barrier in the 100 meters in the 1968 Summer Olympic Games held in Mexico City. His time was 9.95 seconds.


Jim Hines -- 100 mètres -- Mexico 1968

Haile Gebrselassie, the Ethiopian distance runner, ran six miles to and from school each day. He still runs with a crook in his arm, as if he’s carrying his books.

A day after his 105th birthday in September 2015, Japanese centenarian Hidekichi Miyazaki set a new record as the world’s oldest competitive sprinter. Nicknamed the ‘Golden Bolt’, he ran a 100-metre sprint in the over-80s category in 42.22 seconds.

Research shows that top sprinters have long ring fingers compared with their index fingers.

70% of U.S. elite athletes have a key heart gene variant that makes a good sprinter, while 75% of all Jamaicans have it.

The Atalanta entry was originally written for Songfacts.com.

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