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The life of steve roland prefontaine an american middle and long distance runner

Steve Prefontaine

Early life[ edit ] Prefontaine was born on January 25, 1951, in the coastal logging town of Coos BayOregon. Army in World War II. Steve's mother, Elfriede, worked as a seamstress. He was always moving around, partaking in different activities. Later that year, he began to realize he was able to compete well in longer distance races in his physical education class during a three-week conditioning period. With the life of steve roland prefontaine an american middle and long distance runner new-found success, he fell in love with cross country.

Though starting out as the seventh man, he progressed to be the second by the end of the year and placed 53rd in the state championship. However, his coach recalls that it was his sophomore year where his potential in the sport really began to surface. He obtained a national record at the Corvallis Invitational with a time of 8: McClure turned away those universities that began trying to recruit him late.

Prefontaine only received letters from Oregon once a month whereas other universities such as Villanova were persistent in recruiting him. As a result, Prefontaine did not know how much Bill Bowerman wanted him to attend Oregon.

It was a matter of principle for him to advise recruits where to attend college, wherever it may be, and to not flood the recruits with correspondence. Bowerman wrote that he was certain Prefontaine would become the world's greatest distance runner if he decided to run at Oregon. Although it was an odd promise, Prefontaine was up for the challenge.

Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. May 2017 Learn how and when to remove this template message Prefontaine at Oregon Prefontaine was recruited by several top track programs across the United States, but decided to enroll at the University of Oregon to train under coach Bill Bowerman who in 1964 co-founded Blue Ribbon Sports, later known as Nike.

In 1972, he began his training for the upcoming Olympic Games in Munich, which had special meaning for his family his mother was German and his parents had met and married in Germany. He won four 5,000 meter titles in track three times in a row.

He was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. Prefontaine became a very aggressive front runner, insisting on going out hard and not relinquishing leads, reminiscent of the 1956 Olympic gold medalist Vladimir Kutsanother famous front runner at 5,000 meters.

Prefontaine was quoted as saying, "No one will ever win a 5,000 meter by running an easy two miles. In the end, if it is, I'm the only one that can win it". Along with his reputation for leading early instead of holding back until the last lap, Prefontaine had tremendous leg speed; his career best for the mile 3: A local celebrity, chants of "Pre!

Prefontaine found humor in the shirts and when offered, decided to wear one for his victory lap. Prefontaine gained national attention and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated at age 19 in June 1970. In second place at the start of the bell lap, he fell back to third with 200 meters to go. Prefontaine ran out of gas with 30 meters to go as Britain's hard-charging Ian Stewart caught him from behind and moved into third place within ten meters of the finish, depriving Prefontaine of an Olympic bronze medal.

Who is Steve Prefontaine? Biography, gossip, facts?

Returning for his senior year, [23] he ended his collegiate career with only three defeats in Eugene, all in the mile. It was during this year that Prefontaine began a protracted fight with the Amateur Athletic Union AAUwhich demanded that athletes who wanted to remain " amateur " for the Olympics not be paid for appearances in track meets.

Some viewed this arrangement as unfair, because the participants drew large crowds that generated millions of dollars in revenue, with the athletes being forced to shoulder the burden of all their own expenses without assistance. At the time, the AAU was rescinding athletes' amateur status if they were endorsed in any way.

Because Prefontaine was accepting free clothes and footwear from Nikehe was subject to the AAU's ruling. After college 1974—75 [ edit ] Following his collegiate career at Oregon, Prefontaine prepared for the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. While running for the Oregon Track Club, Pre set American records in every race from 2,000 to 10,000 meters.

Prefontaine talked about the importance of cross country through his own eyes. After his death, the notes Prefontaine made were given to his family. After the event on Thursday, May 29, which included a 5,000-meter race that Prefontaine won, the Finnish and American athletes attended a party at the home of former Duck runner Geoff Hollister.

When is Steve Prefontaine's birthday?

By the time medics arrived, he was pronounced dead. It had been reported that his blood alcohol content was found by the Eugene Police Department to be 0. Known as the "Hayward Field Restoration Meet" in its first two years, it was rebranded as the "Bowerman Classic" for 1975 and set for June 7.

Pre's Rock[ edit ] Pre's Rock in 2007 Pre's Rock is a memorial at the base of the roadside boulder where Prefontaine died. For your love, warmth, and friendship For your family and friends. You are missed by so many And you will never be forgotten. Pre's Rock in June 2012, during the U. Olympic Trials Runners inspired by Prefontaine leave behind memorabilia to honor his memory and his continued influence, such as race numbers, medals, and running shoes.

Paying such homage to Prefontaine has become a tradition that reaches a height during important or noteworthy running events in Eugene e. In 2008, ten memorial plaques were laid along the Prefontaine Memorial Race route, the former training grounds of Prefontaine.

The plaques bear an image of Prefontaine from his high school yearbook and various quotes and records from his time in Coos Bay. Each year on the third Saturday of September in Coos Bay, over a thousand runners engage in the Prefontaine Memorial Run, a 10k run honoring his accomplishments.

This section includes medals he won during his career and the pair of spikes he wore when setting an American record for the 5,000 meters at Hayward Field.

Prefontaine was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1983, where several exhibits showcase his shoes, shirts, and other memorabilia.

He was also inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in upper Manhattan [38] where one of his Oregon track uniforms is on display. On the 30th anniversary of his death in 2005, Nike placed a memorial advertisement in Sports Illustrated, [40] Eugene's Register-Guard, [41] and aired a television commercial in his honor.

Nike 's headquarters have a building named after him. Roland, a poem by chief American rival Dick Buerkle. Personal bests[ edit ] At the time of his death in May 1975, Prefontaine held every American outdoor track record between 2,000 and 10,000 meters.

His personal best times over each distance, including those records, are below.