Limited edition paperback book New Zealand's Peter Snell raced his first mile at 14, running without training and only because he was school steeplechase champion, couldn't sprint and had to run something in the school championships.
His time, although a pathetic 5 minutes 21 seconds, was a record for the school. But his tennis was going particularly well. So well that when he played in the Auckland under 17 championships it took Lew Gerrard, New Zealand's most outstanding post-war player, three sets to get rid of him in the quarter-finals.
This, then, was the indiscriminate yet thorough moulding in sport of the modern Peter Snell, the unknown who tipped the athletic world on its head in Rome in 1960. And this, from here on, is his story.
GARTH GILMOUR, Auckland, 1965 Snell won three Olympic gold medals during his career, including winning both the 800 and 1500 metres at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. D.O.B: December 17th, 1938, New Zealand. Previous World record over 800, 1000m & Mile. Olympic 800m Gold, Rome, 1960. Olympic 800m Gold, Tokyo, 1964, a new Olympic record. Olympic 1500m Gold, Tokyo, 1964. Personal Bests 800m: 1:44.30 1000m: 2:16.60 1500m: 3:37.60 Mile: 3:54.1 GARTH GILMOUR, Auckland, 1965 Published by (c) Runner's Tribe Books First Published by MINERVA LIMITED, Auckland 1965 By P.J. Snell & G.H. Gilmour Pages: 328