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• Sir Roger Bannister, who at the age of 25 in 1954 became the first person ever to run a mile in under four minutes - 3:59.4 - passed away over the weekend. He was 88.

In its obit, the New York Times writes that by “breaking through a mystical barrier,” Bannister created “a seminal moment in sports history … His record-setting feat would be surpassed many times. Runners in the next decades would be faster, stronger, better-equipped, better-trained and able to devote much of their time to the pursuit while benefiting from advances in sports science. But their later success did not dim the significance of Bannister’s run.”

Remarkably, Bannister gave up competitive running the same year he broke the the four minute barrier, to concentrate on his medical career; as a neurologist, he worked in both research and clinical practice.

• David Ogden Stiers, best known for joining the TV series “M*A*S*H” in season six as the arrogant surgeon Major Charles Emerson Winchester III, as well as for voicing the role of Cogsworth in Disney’s original, animated Beauty and the Beast, has passed away of bladder cancer. He was 75.
KC's View:
I didn’t know that much about Bannister, other than his breaking the four minute mile, until I read the obits about him. But go figure - his life and insights into competition in some ways seem so much more than just about how fast he ran the mile. I love what he once wrote, that “To move into the lead means making an attack requiring fierceness and confidence, but fear must play some part in the last stage, when no relaxation is possible and all discretion is thrown to the winds.”

Fierceness, confidence, and a little bit of fear. I like that.

As for Stiers … for my money, “M*A*S*H” actually got better when Stiers joined the cast, replacing Larry Linville’s more buffoonish Frank Burns, because his character was far more of a match for Hawkeye Pierce. I also remember seeing a very young Stiers, who studied at Julliard, in a play at Lincoln Center in 1972 - his equally young and then-unknown costars were Kevin Kline and Patty Lupone.