Pennington was an outstanding sprinter who boasted national records and medals galore, but in Berlin at the XI Olympiad, he shared a track with the great Jesse Owens.
Despite facing a 20th Century icon, the brilliant young flying machine from the Wirral was far from disgraced.
Pennington was entered for the 100m, 200m and sprint relay in Berlin - and in the 100m ran in the 10th of 11 heats where he finished second to eventual bronze medallist Tinus Osendarp of Holland.
Pennington registered 10.6 seconds, which was enough to reach the quarter-finals.
Pennington then matched his heat time of 10.6 seconds to come second to Owens' team-mate, USA's Ralph Metcalfe.
It was in the semi-finals that Pennington lined up against Owens, but this time he found a searing pace too hot and finished sixth.
Ironically the other semi-final saw Germany's Erich Borchmeyer qualify for the final in a slower time than anything Pennington clockedd in his earlier heats.
Nonetheless Pennington was one of the outstanding British sprinters of his era.
A brilliant junior, he went to Oxford University where he won the Varsity 100 yards in 1936 and 1938 and the 440 yards in 1939.
He missed the 1937 AAAs Championships as he was in America with the Oxbridge team, unbeaten throughout the tour.
In the 1938 European Championships he won the silver medal in the 4 x 400 metres relay (with Godfrey Brown and the non-Olympians John Barnes and Alfred Baldwin) and the bronze medal in the 200 metres.
The outbreak of war ended his hopes of bidding for Olympic honours in 1940.
He spent most of the war years serving abroad but occasionally produced some fine performances.
He married Margaret Edwards in 1941, sister of the famous comedian Jimmy Edwards, and didn't limit his sporting achievements to the athletics track.
A 12 handicap golfer, reported to be a snooker player 'of merit,' he also played cricket for Neston CC and rugby for Birkenhead Park.
At only 17 years old he scored 169 runs and took five wickets for Berkhamstead School against UCS and once scored 94 against the MCC.
He reached the rank of captain during the War, before working in insurance on his demob.
Pennington's tale had a tragic postscript.
In June 1961, at the age of 45, it was reported he had been found with gun shot wounds to his head in a hotel room in Lisbon.
A pistol and a note were found nearby and a verdict of suicide was recorded.