Steve Prefontaine, Talk:Steve Prefontaine
Steve Roland Prefontaine
– May 30
) was an American Olympic
runner born in Coos Bay
. thumb|Prefontaine racing in the 1972 Olympic Trials
Prefontaine was primarily a long distance
runner, and at one point held the American record in every running event from the 2000 meters
to the 10,000 meters
. He was considered one of the greatest American runners of all time. He is known for his extremely aggressive racing style, disliking the tactic of sitting and kicking, and always believing in giving a full effort. Prefontaine died at the age of 24 in a car accident
Marshfield High School (1966-1969)
As a freshman at Marshfield High School, Prefontaine initially found limited success in his attempts at sports
, although he found some success in cross country running
, placing 53rd in the state meet. Determined to improve, Prefontaine undertook a high-mileage training plan during the summer
. The plan was ultimately successful, and the following year he placed 6th in the year-end state meet. Prefontaine ran a personal best time of 5:01 in the mile his freshman
He continued rigorous training at the end of the cross country season in preparation for track
. His training was too strenuous and the overworked Prefontaine failed to qualify for the state meet. However, his junior and senior years proved highly successful, with Prefontaine winning every meet, including state, and setting a national high school record his senior year in the two mile race with a time of 8:41.5.
University of Oregon (1970-1973)thumb|19-year-old Prefontaine on the cover of Sports Illustrated
Following high school, Prefontaine enrolled at the University of Oregon
in order to continue his running under coach Bill Bowerman
, who would later co-found the Nike shoe company
. Following his freshman year, he went undefeated, winning three Division I NCAA Cross Country championships and four straight three-mile titles in Track and Field. "Pre" was now the best known athlete in Eugene, becoming a hero to all who watched his races. He was known for going out hard and not relinquishing the lead, a tactic that his fans and fellow competitors admired. The loud chants of "Pre! Pre! Pre!" became a staple at Hayward Field, a mecca for track and field in the USA. Many fans wore shirts proclaiming "LEGEND", which became a sort-of war cry for him. Other fans of his began wearing shirts proclaiming to "Stop Pre" at his meets as a joke. Prefontaine gained national attention, and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated
at age 19.
He set the American record in the 5000 meter
race, the event that took him to the 1972 Summer Olympic Games
. Prefontaine narrowly missed a medal there. He was passed with 150m to go and landed a 4th place finish despite leading nearly the entire last mile in a toe-to-toe battle with Lasse Viren
. Returning for his senior year at the University of Oregon. Prefontaine ended his collegiate career undefeated in Eugene. It was during his collegiate career that he began to fight the Amateur Athletic Union
(AAU) which demanded that athletes who wished to remain "amateur" for the Olympics not be paid for appearances in track meets, even though they drew large crowds that generated millions of dollars. Bowerman, who also fought the AAU's restrictions, began calling Prefontaine "Rube" because of his naivety and stubbornness.
Following the University of Oregon he set his sights on the 1976 Summer Olympics
, setting American records in every race from 2,000 to 10,000 meters.
On May 30
, on the return from a party and dropping off of a friend (Frank Shorter
), Prefontaine was driving down a familiar road (Skyline Boulevard) near Hendricks Park, when his car, a gold 1973
The death of Prefontaine, who was affectionately called "Pre" and "Rube", proved shocking to many. The Eugene Register-Guard
called his death "the end of an era." Whether his death was an alcohol-related fatality
remains controversial. Although his blood alcohol content
was 0.16, six-hundredths higher than Oregon's legal limit at the time, it was a mortician
who tested his blood rather than a medical examiner.
By the time of his death, Prefontaine was an extremely popular athlete, and along with Frank Shorter
and Bill Bowerman
is attributed with sparking the running boom of the 1970s. His life story has been recorded in movies: 1997
's Without Limits
; and the documentary "Fire on the Track". An annual track event, the Pre Classic
, has been held in his honor since 1974
. Prefontaine remains an icon, an idol and an obsession in American running.
Pre's Rock is one of the many memorials to Prefontaine. The Rock, located in Hendricks Park (Eugene, OR) has a plaque containing a picture of Pre with writing that reads:
:For your dedication and loyalty to your principles and beliefs...
:For your love, warmth, and friendship For your family and friends...
:You are missed by so many and you will never be forgotten...
The memorial sits on the site where Prefontaine died. Runners who have seen the memorial will leave behind items such as race numbers, medals, running shoes, etc.
Pre's Rock became the newest of all the memorials to Pre when it was erected in December 1997.
In Pre's hometown of Coos Bay there is a memorial different from the one in Eugene. It is a plaque-on-a-boulder style commemorative plaque featuring a relief of his face, records, and date of birth.
*1,500 meters - 3:38.1 (28 June 1973)
*2,000 meters - 5:01.4 (9 May 1975)
*3,000 meters - 7:42.6 (2 July 1974)
*5,000 meters - 13:21.87 (26 June 1974)
*10,000 meters - 27:43.6 (27 April 1974)
*1 mile - 3:54.6 (20 June 1973)
[ http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=111802 Steve Prefontaine by AwkwardSaw including personal records and dates, (Accessed November 10, 2006) ]
*2 miles - 8:18.4
*3 miles - 12:51.4
*6 miles - 26:51.8
# cite book | author= Jordan, Tom | title=Pre: The Story of America's Greatest Running Legend, Steve Prefontaine | publisher=Rodale| year=1977
1997 | id=ISBN
* Pre's Trail
*http://www.prefontainerun.com/ Official website
*http://preclassic.com/ Prefontaine Classic homepagePrefontaine, StevePrefontaine, StevePrefontaine, StevePrefontaine, StevePrefontaine, StevePrefontaine, StevePrefontaine, StevePrefontaine, StevePrefontaine, StevePrefontaine, Stevede:Steve Prefontainees:Steve Prefontainefr:Steve Prefontainefi:Steve Prefontaine