New Zealand running legend Peter Snell, a triple Olympic gold medalist, has died at the age of 80, sources said here on Saturday.
Palenski, a close friend, said Snell´s wife Miki Snell had phoned him from their home in Dallas to tell him of Peter’s death.
The couple was preparing to go shopping when “Peter nodded off, as is not unusual for him. But he didn´t wake up,” Palenski said.
Peter Snell, a protege of famed coach Arthur Lydiard, was the most dominant middle-distance runner of his era.
He won gold in the only three Olympic events he contested — the 800 metres at Rome in 1960 and the 800m and 1500m in Tokyo four years later — set world records for the mile and 800m and also won dual gold at the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth.
Peter was the first male athlete to win the 800m-1500m double at an Olympics since 1920.
Snell was voted New Zealand´s “Sports Champion of the Century” and was one of 24 inaugural members of the International Association of Athletics Federations Hall Of Fame.
Miki Snell, wife of Peter, delivered a heartfelt message for his husband, “Just tell the New Zealand people that Peter did love them, and he loved his country. And I just want the New Zealand people to know that Peter lived well, up until just moments before he passed.”
“I loved Peter so much, and he still loved his country so much,” Miki told the, holding back tears.
“He was appreciated all over the world, Truly he was. Wherever we went, people knew him and appreciated him.”
Despite her deep and profound grief, Miki was proud to reflect on her husband’s remarkable life and wonderful legacy.