"Common sense" helped Ronnie Delany to his 1956 Olympic gold medal

The Villanova runner won the gold medal 60 years ago this week

"Common sense" helped Ronnie Delany to his 1956 Olympic gold medal

Ronnie Delany winning gold in Melbourne. ©INPHO/Allsport

60 years ago this week, Ronnie Delany was crowned as the best middle-distance runner on the planet.

In the World-famous Melbourne Cricket Ground, the then 21-year-old won the 1,500-metres Olympic title. That gold medal remains the last time, any Irish athlete won a gold medal in athletics. Since then, only John Treacy, Sonia O'Sullivan and Rob Heffernan has won Olympic athletics medals.

The 81-year-old joined George Hook in studio on Thursday afternoon, to look back on that historic day in Melbourne in 1956. Delany's win of 3:41.2 broke the then-Olympic record.

Speaking on High Noon with George Hook, Delany recounted how we was a late-bloomer in athletics, not beginning to compete until his late teens.

"I'd only begun my athletic career at 17 years of age. I'd never run a mile at 19 year of age, At 21, I'm competing in the Olympics and I'm winning the Olympics."

Delany was the youngest of the 12 athletes in the final, and despite his relative inexperience, he knew he could impress in Australia due to some "common sense".

"I'd run a four-minute mile, seventh man in the world [to do so]. Analytically, I was probably the fastest half-miler. I could beat everyone at the half-time. I was accustomed to winning... I never went to the Olympics with any other desire in my heart than to win."

The Olympics has changed enormously since Delany's win in Melbourne. He also told George about the peculiar living arrangements in the Olympic village.

"They didn't allow the men and the women to mingle. The women were all in a sort of compound. The story at the time was that the only guy who get into the compound were the pole-vaulters."

You can listen to the whole interview with George and Ronnie below.