Congratulations to Ronnie Delany who this week celebrates the 60th anniversary of his Gold medal winning performance in the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. It’s still fresh in the memory and best described in a recent interview in the Irish Times: Delany said,
“I spread my arms crossing the line, and the funny thing is, on one of my last training sessions, in California, the American coach Brutus Hamilton actually had me practice that, stringing a piece of twine across the finish line and ensuring I ran through it. But it’s only after it’s won that you realise the immensity of it, because I hadn’t looked or thought beyond winning. There is no sense of history, in the moment, it’s just joy, elation. There’s no deeper thought than that, other than maybe a sense of disbelief, that I am about to win, then that sense of destiny, that my gift was to win the gold medal.
“And it’s never been a burden, always a joy. It’s hard to say as an 81-year-old, talking to you about something that happened 60 years ago, but the race does seem to have appreciated over time. It was some years later when Bannister wrote me a letter, describing it as one of the best tactical 1,500m races of that era, which is such a wonderful compliment. And for me the essence and the beauty and the purity of running is still there, and despite all the money and the commercialism, I do still believe in the dream of winning the Olympics.”
The medallists on that great day were:
Olympic 1,500m final – Melbourne 1956
1. Ronnie Delany (IRL) 3:41.2 (Olympic rec)
2. Klaus Richtzenhain (GDR) 3:42.0
3. John Landy (AUS) 3:42.0