Vale John Landy AC CVO MBE
Legend of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame
12/04/1930 – 24/02/2022
The Sport Australia Hall of Fame is mourning the passing of Legend of Australian Sport John Landy AC CVO MBE who passed away on Thursday, February 24, 2022 surrounded by his family. He was 91 years old.
Landy was the first great Australian distance runner and the second man in the world to break four minutes for the mile.
In Australia, Landy is perhaps most famously remembered for his performance in the 1500m final at the 1956 Australian national championships prior to the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, known simply as ‘An Act of Sportsmanship‘. Landy’s phenomenal talent and admirable sportsmanship were both on display. During the mile race, a number of athletes fell in the third lap – junior 1500m world record-holder Ron Clarke amongst them. Landy stopped to check if Clarke was all right and then, after some delay, decided to chase down the leaders. It is a testament to his athletic ability that he managed to catch them all and win the race in a time of 4:04.2. This event is often considered one of the greatest moments in Australian sporting history and was voted the Finest Sporting Moment of the century at the Sport Australia Hall of Fame Awards night in 1999. Although remembered as one of his greatest achievements, it is not his only one.
In 1955, Landy was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to amateur athletics, and in 2001 he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for service to research and development, increasing public awareness, and for support of community and sporting activities. On January 1, 2001, Landy was appointed as the 26th Governor of Victoria, retiring on April 7, 2006. In 2006 he was appointed a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) as Governor of Victoria during The Queen’s visit to Australia.
On March 15, 2006, Landy was the final runner in the Queen’s Baton Relay at the Melbourne Cricket Ground during the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony, presenting the Baton to the Queen.
Sport Australia Hall of Fame Chair and fellow Legend John Bertrand AO described Landy as “The most humble champion you would ever come across. When I asked John whether he would be comfortable for us to elevate him from a Member to Legend, he said he didn’t deserve it. Several months passed and I went back to him several times and eventually he said, ‘Yes, I will accept the award.’ The stature of the man was just enhanced even further with that type of reaction in terms of the sportsmanlike manner in which he conducted himself and the humble nature of this world champion. He was highly intelligent, a deep thinker and his values were quite supreme.
Our thoughts are with John’s family and the entire Nation as we mourn a great champion. A great man.”
Read John Landy’s full biography here.