Steve Prefontaine. The son of an Oregon logger man.
Too small for football. Too slow for track. Not a sprinter. Also not fast enough to be a great miler.
But, he could endure more pain than anyone else.
He set the the National High School two-mile record. Bill Bowerman, the University of Oregon head Track Coach, recruited “Pre” and the two of them forever changed American running.
Steve Prefontaine is the only athlete, ever, which Nike has immortalized with a bronze statue. Are ya with me? The only one.
This You Tube video is the final five minutes (of a 13-minute race) of the 1972 Munich Olympics 5,000 meter final. It’s breathtaking, and awe inspiring to watch a man run the best race of his life, and finish fourth.
America thought the best was still to come and the world knew that Steve Prefontaine would return in four years, with a vengence and determination to win the Olympic Gold medal and set a new World Record.
But a tragic, late night car crash changed all that.