Mile News

Golden moment cast in bronze: Sir John Walker statue unveiled

March 12, 2018

"This is a legacy for others. When they look at the statue kids can say to each other 'if he can do it, so can I'."


One of the country's sporting heroes has been immortalized in his hometown.

Olympic champion and Mile world record holder Sir John Walker unveiled a life-sized bronze statue in Manurewa, south Auckland, on Saturday afternoon, March 10.

The statue, designed by sculptor Joanne Sullivan, depicts the moment Walker crossed the finish line at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, where he won gold in the 1500 meters.

It faces his old primary, Manurewa Central School, and the statue was funded by the Sir John Walker Legacy Trust and cost about $160,000 (NZD).

Walker said in 2017 he was surprised when he first learned a statue would be erected in his honor.

"It came as a big shock because normally you're dead [when a statue is erected]," he said.

"This is a legacy for others. When they look at the statue kids can say to each other 'if he can do it, so can I'."

Walker, a former middle distance runner, broke the world record in Mile on August 12, 1975, clocking a time of 3 minutes, 49.4 seconds, the first sub-3:50.

The following year, he also set the world record for the 2000 meters.

Later, he was elected a Manukau City councillor, and now represents the Manurewa-Papakura ward on Auckland Council.

The 66-year-old, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, was appointed Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009.

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