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Sir Roger lights Olympic Torch at Iffley Road
10 Jul 12
The Olympic Torch came to Oxford University today, with Sir Roger Bannister carrying the torch for the first leg on the Iffley Road running track which takes his name.
Sir Roger, Lord Sebastian Coe, Chancellor Lord Patten, Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Hamilton, and alumnae Dr Stephanie Cook and Nikki Emerson lit the torch at 7.01am in front of a crowd of more than 600 at Iffley Road.
Sir Roger then carried the torch to the finish line over which he crossed when he set his record-breaking time for the mile in 1954 before handing it to Nicola Byrom, a DPhil student at Oxford University who set up Student Run Self Help, a volunteer organisation providing self-help groups for students with eating disorders.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Hamilton said: 'Sir Roger is the embodiment of the 'scholar-athlete', which we value so highly at Oxford University – he broke the four-minute mile here in Oxford before going on to become a distinguished neurologist.
'We are therefore delighted that he could be here today to carry the Olympic Torch on the Sir Roger Bannister Running Track and he could not have received a warmer reception from the fans who lined the route.'
Sir Roger said the weather was 'much the same as it was in 1954' when he did his famous run – mild, windy but thankfully dry.
Also present at the track were former Oxonian Olympians Dr Stephanie Cook (modern pentathlon gold 2000), Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (coxless pairs rowers for USA, 6th place in 2008), Geoff Tudor (steeplechase 1948), Dick Healey (cox of coxed fours 1948), Jonny Searle (rowing coxed pairs gold 1992) and Nikki Emerson, who is due to hear if she has qualified for the Paralympic Games in wheelchair racing very soon.
On Monday 9 July two Oxfordshire primary schools came to Iffley Road for a day with Oxford University's Widening Participation team, where they tried fencing and rowing.
That afternoon, Professor Richard Cooper also carried the Olympic Torch.