News07 Aug 2000

Former miler John Landy named as next Governor of Victoria state


Former miler John Landy named as next Governor of Victoria state

8 August 2000 -  Olympian John Landy, a former world-record holder over the mile, was named Tuesday to become the next governor of Victoria state in Australia.

Landy, who was famously edged in a race against time to break the magical four-minute barrier for the mile - a feat that inspired
passion among sports writers and fans in the early 1950s - will replace Sir James Gobbo in the vice-regal position from January
next year.

``I did not accept straight away,'' said Landy, adding that he took several days to consider the approach from Victorian premier Steve Bracks.

Landy, now 70, became the second runner to run a sub 4 minute-mile when he clocked 3 minutes, 57.9 seconds in Finland in
June 1954, just over a month after Roger Bannister had entered the history books by covering the distance in 3:59.4 at Oxford,
England, on May 6.

Landy's time in Turku, Finland, set a new world record but Bannister had already grabbed most of the glory and retired before
the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

Landy was favored to win the Olympic 1500 meters on home soil in Melbourne but was edged into third place when Ireland's Ron Delany streaked ahead over the last 120 meters to clinch gold.

However, the Australian had became universally recognized for his sportsmanship in the leadup to the games when he stopped
mid-race in the Australian trials to assist fallen rival Ron Clarke before recovering to win the event.

Landy quit competitive racing after the Melbourne Olympics and embarked on a career as an agricultural scientist and teacher.
Bracks said Landy was the perfect choice as governor, an appointed position as Queen Elizabeth II's official representative
in Victoria.

``Mr. Landy is not only respected as a famous athlete, but also he has an outstanding record of achievement in the scientific
community, in industry and the community more broadly,'' Bracks said.

The six states of Australia each have a governor, a ceremonial position which carries little formal political power. The queen's
superior representative in Australia is the governor-general, Sir William Deane.