News World Athletics: New Zealand Olympic legend Snell dies at age 80

Athletics: New Zealand Olympic legend Snell dies at age 80

Famed New Zealand Olympic middle distance runner Peter Snell has died in Dallas at age 80, the New Zealand Herald reported on Saturday.

The newspaper reported sports historian and friend Ron Palenski confirmed Snell had died at his Texas home on Thursday after years of heart problems.

Palenski said Snell’s wife Miki had telephoned him to share the news.

Snell, considered New Zealand’s greatest athlete, won three Olympic gold medals. He took the 800 metres at the 1960 Rome Games and won both the 800 and 1,500 metres at the 1964 Tokyo Games.

He is the only man since 1920 to have won both events at the same Olympics.

“Peter Snell was to running what Sir Edmund Hillary was to mountaineering,” friend and Olympic marathoner Barry Magee once said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern remembered Snell as “a legend, here and around the world. Our thoughts are with Sir Peter’s wife Miki and their family.”

​Under the guidance of famed coach Arthur Lydiard, the powerfully built Snell became one of the most dominant middle-distance runners in history.

He set world records in the mile and 800 metres and also won dual gold at the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth.

Snell was preparing to celebrate his 81st birthday on Tuesday.

His wife Miki told New Zealand’s Stuff her husband was having a good day on Thursday, despite a health scare last month when he passed out while driving and crashed into several parked vehicles.

“He felt good, he had gone and done some activities, and was planning on doing more – he wanted to play table tennis,” Miki told the publication. “He lay down to watch the news on TV and fell asleep.

“I tried to wake him up but he wouldn’t move. The paramedics came in about five minutes but they couldn’t wake him.”

Snell retired from running in 1965 and later became a sports scientist in the United States.

His work mainly focused on the kind of extreme performance he had personally achieved.

“I really wanted to know what made athletes tick… try to understand why Arthur Lydiard’s training methods worked so well,” he wrote in “Peter Snell: From Olympian to Scientist” in 2007.

Although living in the United States, Snell was always admired in New Zealand. He was elevated to Sir Peter Snell in 2009 and was voted New Zealand’s Sportsman of the Twentieth Century.

“Just reading his name says greatness to me,” Nick Willis, New Zealand’s two-time Olympic medallist in the 1,500 metres, said on Twitter. “He is the greatest ever. Absolute dominance in his era.”


Top Stories

Over 50 sea turtles nest at Kiti-Pervolia’s Caretta beach this year

Over 50 loggerhead sea turtles have nested so far at the Caretta beach area of Kiti-Pervolia  this year, Melina Marcou of the Cyprus Fisheries...

An ash cloud rises above Sinabung volcano in Indonesia

An ash cloud rises above Sinabung volcano after its eruption in Karo Regency, North Sumatra, Indonesia August 10, 2020.

What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now: Over 20 million cases Global coronavirus cases pushed past 20 million on Monday, according to a Reuters tally, with...

Cyprus-Russia new double tax deal prevents costly rift

Nicosia feels relieved now that Cyprus and Russia have agreed to amend their Double Tax Avoidance Treaty and to prevent a costly rift between...

Liverpool sign defender Kostas Tsimikas from Olympiakos

Liverpool have made their first signing of the transfer window by bringing in Greek defender Kostas Tsimikas from Olympiakos Piraeus on a long-term deal,...


Octopus ‘Kathisto’ (or Octopus braised in Wine)

Ingredients: 1/2 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil 2 medium onions, chopped fine 1 large octopus, about 2kg (cleaned and kept whole) 3/4 cup dry red wine 1/3 cup...

Homemade lemonade

Ingredients: 1 cup lemon juice 1 cup sugar Method: Thoroughly wash the lemons with soap and warm water. Roll each lemon with the palm of your hand, pressing...

‘Striftaria’ mini cheese pies

Ingredients 1 ½ cup milk 2 tbsps. flour 4 tsps. of butter 3 eggs, slightly beaten + 1 extra with 1 tbs. of milk for spreading 1 pack of...

Mini potato canapes baked on salt

Ingredients Serves: 12 1kg small Cypriot potatoes rock salt, as needed 250g salted butter 300ml full fat cremé frâiche 1 pot cod or salmon roe Method Prep:20min › Cook:35min › Ready in:55min Take...