Peter Snell: Medal-Winning Magic

The display features two of Sir Peter Snell’s Olympic gold medals and one of his running shoes made by his coach, Arthur Lydiard.

Snell was almost unknown when he won the 800 metres at the Rome Olympic Games in 1960. He was only 21 at the time. He instantly became a national celebrity and massive crowds would flock to see him race.

He won wearing track shoes made by Lydiard. The other contenders in the race were wearing Adidas. The company gave free shoes to every finalist except Snell – they didn’t consider him a medal prospect. But when he won the semi-final, Adidas sent him some shoes. Snell stuck with Lydiard’s.

Four years later at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, Snell dominated the track, winning two gold medals. He remains the only man since 1920 to have won both the 800-metre and 1500-metre events at the same Olympic Games.

Footage of these three dramatic Olympic races screens continuously.

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