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LPG Catalogue: Spring 2016

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The Miracle Mile
Stories of the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games
By (author): Jason Beck
9781987915006 Paperback, Trade English HISTORY / Canada / Post-Confederation Mar 15, 2016
$29.95 CAD
Active 7.5 x 10 x 0.8 in 288 pages Caitlin Press
The 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver changed both the city and world sport forever. The Games will always be remembered for the "Miracle Mile," the much-anticipated showdown between the first two men to break the four-minute barrier, England's Roger Bannister and Australia's John Landy. But as the press focused the world's attention on Vancouver, and Bannister outpaced Landy in the stretch, fate found an even more dramatic story that seared itself into the memories of all who saw it. England's Jim Peters, the world-record holder in the marathon, entered Empire Stadium at the end of a brutal twenty-six-mile run, collapsing repeatedly before a medic stopped him two hundred yards from the finish line. These two stories brought the Games to a stirring conclusion on its final day - Saturday, August 7, 1954 - but there were many other extraordinary moments throughout the events. A group of novice UBC rowers pulled off the biggest upset in Games history on the Fraser Valley's Vedder Canal. Australia's Marjorie Jackson-Nelson, the fastest woman in history, blasted down the track one final time to remain undefeated in international competition, an unprecedented accomplishment before and since. Emmanuel Ifeajuna, a little-known high jumper from Nigeria, surprised the world when he won Africa's first-ever international gold medal. He later masterminded a bloody coup that plunged his nation into devastating civil war. Every single day offered up unbelievabletales of glory and grief. As one 1954 billboard boldly proclaimed, the Games were "a week you'll remember a lifetime!"

For the past decade, Jason Beck has worked as the curator and facility director of the BC Sports Hall of Fame in Vancouver, leading the hall's re-emergence as one of the finest in North America. He is one of BC's leading sports historians, often sought out by national and local television, radio and online media sources for interviews. His work has appeared in international sports history and sports literature journals, as well as the PROVINCE, VANCOUVER COURIER, and Canucks.com. His BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY article "The Cinderella Crew" won the prestigious 2014 Anne and Philip Yandle Best Article Award. A lifelong competitive soccer player and avid runner, Jason lives with his wife, Nicole, in Langley. This is his first book.

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