Friday, July 22, 2011

The Greatness of Herb Elliott

I know that many are aware that Herb Elliott won the 1500 meter race at the 1960 Olympics. Readers to this site,as well as people during his time, recognized that Elliott trained using what most would view as very unconventional conditioning methods. I doubt however that people actually realize what an otherworldly run he had at those Olympics. Before I show why this was "otherworldly", I want to give a few quotes by some people who recognize what an effort it was. The first comes from Roger Bannister, the first man to go under 4 minutes for the mile. He said: "No other athlete in Rome commanded such superiority over his rivals,no other athlete emerged with that elusive magic of victory which the Greeks sought,in such abundance." Next, a few quotes from Michael Jazy who came in second to Elliott in that race: "If I didn't have Olympic champion luck I had other luck and silver medals. Remember,to be second behind Herb Elliott is like being an Olympic Champion." When asked to describe Herb after the race Jazy said: "A being from another world." The comments were not only accurate but somewhat prophetic. I say this because if you look back to the Olympics of 1896 and go all the way through to the one held in 1996(23 Olympics),only two people beat Elliott's time of 3:35:6, and one was faster by only half a second. It truly was a performance for the ages. At the bottom of this post there is a link that will take you to a film of the 1500 meter final that includes commentary from Elliott himself. You may be able to simply click on it or you may have to cut and paste to get there. If all else fails just go to Youtube and type in Herb Elliott,1500 meters. It's so great to watch,especially when he puts the hammer down in the second half of the race. Many ask why Elliott retired so young at age 22? There are several reasons he's given,one being that he had a family to care for and support.Back then athletes had to actually work for a living. Another reason was that he believed he had accomplished all that he had set out to accomplish. He also admitted that he experienced alot of anxiety prior to racing that impacted every aspect of his life. In addition he admitted to being preoccupied with maintaining his unbeaten streak at the 1500 meter and one mile distances. Whatever the reason, I'm thankful Herb Elliott was around no matter how long because he continues to teach and inspire runners from all over the world. Let this video get you psyched for your weekend runs. Stotan Up!


  1. Thank you, it was truly a performance for the ages. I still watch it from time to time.