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Prefontaine Prefontaine
Prefontaine
Bill Bowerman
Steve Prefontaine
Pre held eight collegiate records and his three-mile and six mile records are still standing today. His death shocked the running community world wide.
Prefontaine


Steve Prefontaine is arguably the greatest American distance runner in history. "Pre" was unstoppable on the track and at the height of his career, he held every American track and field record from the 2,000 to the 10,000 meters.

Pre was born is Coos Bay, Oregon. His running career began at Marshfield High School where he was undefeated in cross-country and in track his junior and senior years. As a senior, he broke the American record for the two mile run. His outstanding performance attracted the attention of Bill Bowerman, legendary track coach at the University of Oregon and co-founder of Nike, Inc.

Pre entered the University of Oregon in 1969. He became famous for winning races, setting and resetting his own records and filling the University of Oregon's Hayward Field to capacity with fans that would erupt into cheering at the mere site of him. At the end of his four years at the University of Oregon, Pre racked up seven NCAA titles: three in cross-country, '70, '71, '73; and four in the three-mile in track, '70, '71, '72 and '73. Pre was the first athlete to win four consecutive NCAA track titles in the same event. He held eight collegiate records and his three-mile and six-mile records are still standing today. During his career he broke his own or other American records 14 different times.

Pre competed in the 5,000 meters at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. He took the lead with a mile to go and held on until Finland's Lasse Viren passed him with 600 meters left in the race. Pre finished fourth.

His death in a car accident on May 30, 1975, shocked the running community world wide. Pre was only 24 years old. Twenty years after his death, Pre's impact on running is no less than it was at the pinnacle of his career.

Prefontaine


 

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