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  • #31
    Originally posted by Tuariki View Post

    I have never figured out why Pre has been accorded this all suffocating legendary status. While he was a fantastic athlete he was never, at any stage, dominant on the world stage.

    I knew him, not particulary well, as his time at Oregon, crossed my time at WSU and we competed many times in the same meets. Occasionally had beers with him with other Oregon and WSU athletes. I think Pre would be amused and a bit shocked at his legendary status 46 years after his sad and untimely death.
    Well....it helps having a shoe company with its never ending promotion...

    It is strange...I have a good friend in town who trained with Pre often and thinks the same.

    Ralph Hill went to Oregon, was a US mile record holder, silver medal 1932 5000....but in 1972 completely forgotten...I remember Stones excitingly asking Rupp in 2012 what it was like to break Pre's Trials record from 40 years before....if by some miracle Hill still held the record in 1972 I doubt it would have been treated with the same reference.

    Otoh he really was quite the star of the show in his prime....he was the reason I came to Eugene in the first place...

    In the BBC commentary for the Munich 72 5000, David Coleman mentioned Pre as an "American Beatle" which wasn't far off...
    Last edited by Conor Dary; 01-31-2021, 02:05 AM.

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    • #32
      If ya don't get the appeal of Pre, that's fine, but to dismiss him as a commercial phenomenon COMPLETELY misses the point and denigrated what many of us saw in him.
      I'm not even a distance fan, but he appealed enormously to me, because all the other events in T&F are trying to PR every time out there, and I am constantly appalled by how often championship races 800 and up are left to dawdle. Pre was a sprinter/hurdler/field-eventer, who happened to run distance.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Conor Dary View Post

        Well....it helps having a shoe company with its never ending promotion...

        It is strange...I have a good friend in town who trained with Pre often and thinks the same.

        Ralph Hill went to Oregon, was a US mile record holder, silver medal 1932 5000....but in 1972 completely forgotten...I remember Stones excitingly asking Rupp in 2012 what it was like to break Pre's Trials record from 40 years before....if by some miracle Hill still held the record in 1972 I doubt it would have been treated with the same reference.

        Otoh he really was quite the star of the show in his prime....he was the reason I came to Eugene in the first place...

        In the BBC commentary for the Munich 72 5000, David Coleman mentioned Pre as an "American Beatle" which wasn't far off...
        I am just too young to remember Pre as my interest in the sport pretty much started just months after his death, but I think it is a combination of the following (some more so than others):

        1. His untimely death, which makes one wonder about unfulfilled potential.
        2. His swashbuckling racing style.
        3. His somewhat 'rock & roll' image.
        4. The obvious Nike links and his running career coinciding with the emergence of it as a well-known brand.
        5. This partly overlaps with no.4 - his going to college in Eugene, which I suspect is more the home of the sport in the US now than it was then? He also came from the state of Oregon itself.
        6. I think he emerged at about the time that color/colour TV was becoming the norm in US homes so that may have made him seem a little more glamorous and exciting than previous US runners.
        Last edited by Trickstat; 01-31-2021, 10:58 AM.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Trickstat View Post

          I am just too young to remember Pre as my interest in the sport pretty much started just months after his death, but I think it is a combination of the following (some more so than others):

          1. His untimely death, which makes one wonder about unfulfilled potential.
          2. His swashbuckling racing style.
          3. His somewhat 'rock & roll' image.
          4. The obvious Nike links and his running career coinciding with the emergence of it as a well-known brand.
          5. This partly overlaps with no.4 - his going to college in Eugene, which I suspect is more the home of the sport in the US now than it was then? He also came from the state of Oregon itself.
          6. I think he emerged at about the time that color/colour TV was becoming the norm in US homes so that may have made him seem a little more glamorous and exciting than previous US runners.
          Pre also appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a freshman at Oregon, at a time when SI was "the" sports magazine in the US. Very few runners ever appeared on the cover outside of their Olympic issues, and Pre's cover was not an Olympic issue. Probably helped make him known more to the general sporting public.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by bambam1729 View Post

            Pre also appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a freshman at Oregon, at a time when SI was "the" sports magazine in the US. Very few runners ever appeared on the cover outside of their Olympic issues, and Pre's cover was not an Olympic issue. Probably helped make him known more to the general sporting public.
            That is how I first learned of him. Sports Illustrated was very generous in their coverage of Steve Prefontaine through the years. There were full-page photos of him in SI's reporting of the 1971 U.S-Africa meet; in a story on running form; in an essay on cross country written by Kenny Moore; and sadly, his last race. There also were a number of meet-related stories in which he was the main focus.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by bambam1729 View Post

              Pre also appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a freshman at Oregon, at a time when SI was "the" sports magazine in the US. Very few runners ever appeared on the cover outside of their Olympic issues, and Pre's cover was not an Olympic issue. Probably helped make him known more to the general sporting public.
              June 15, 1970.

              The article: https://vault.si.com/vault/43049#&gi...---032---image

              pre cover.jpg
              Last edited by bad hammy; 01-31-2021, 05:00 PM.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Trickstat View Post

                I am just too young to remember Pre as my interest in the sport pretty much started just months after his death, but I think it is a combination of the following (some more so than others):

                1. His untimely death, which makes one wonder about unfulfilled potential.
                2. His swashbuckling racing style.
                3. His somewhat 'rock & roll' image.
                4. The obvious Nike links and his running career coinciding with the emergence of it as a well-known brand.
                5. This partly overlaps with no.4 - his going to college in Eugene, which I suspect is more the home of the sport in the US now than it was then? He also came from the state of Oregon itself.
                6. I think he emerged at about the time that color/colour TV was becoming the norm in US homes so that may have made him seem a little more glamorous and exciting than previous US runners.
                Very good, Trickstat on all six points.

                Comment


                • #38
                  Originally posted by Trickstat View Post
                  I am just too young to remember Pre as my interest in the sport pretty much started just months after his death, but I think it is a combination of the following (some more so than others):
                  1. His untimely death, which makes one wonder about unfulfilled potential.
                  2. His swashbuckling racing style.
                  3. His somewhat 'rock & roll' image.
                  4. The obvious Nike links and his running career coinciding with the emergence of it as a well-known brand.
                  5. This partly overlaps with no.4 - his going to college in Eugene, which I suspect is more the home of the sport in the US now than it was then? He also came from the state of Oregon itself.
                  6. I think he emerged at about the time that color/colour TV was becoming the norm in US homes so that may have made him seem a little more glamorous and exciting than previous US runners.
                  Interesting list. (Just) My take on it:
                  1. He was huge before his death, but dying made him mythic.
                  2. If by 'swashbuckling', you mean grim determination, then YUP.
                  3. He certainly was an outspoken iconoclast.
                  4. Nike certainly promoted him a lot!
                  5. Oregon BECOME the epicenter because of him. Before him, it was all about SoCal.
                  6. Not sure about that one, but it diidn't hurt.

                  My understanding is that Shorter/Rodgers ushered in the running boom and Pre epitomized it. Good timing, great athlete, great personality.

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                  • #39
                    He was also extremely photogenic and came across as super-confident, two very appealing attributes.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Chicago View Post
                      He was also extremely photogenic and came across as super-confident, two very appealing attributes.
                      He had that cocked head look that made him look like a predator.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Atticus View Post
                        .....

                        My understanding is that Shorter/Rodgers ushered in the running boom ....
                        does the name Lindgren ring a bell?

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by gh View Post

                          does the name Lindgren ring a bell?
                          Who's that GH?
                          What did he do?

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                          • #43
                            Lindgren, Lindgren....wasn’t he a goalie with the Montreal Canadiens?

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by gh View Post
                              does the name Lindgren ring a bell?
                              I'm sure this would make a good investigation, but if Schul and Mills couldn't do it, Lindgren couldn't. The masses noticed these guys, B & S, having marathon success.

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                              • #45
                                Shorter and Rodgers...particularly Shorter's Munich win and the seeming ease of it....did a lot to bring the running boom to the masses.

                                Trickstat hit on a lot of the "mysticism" and popularity of Pre. The guy was great as an American but it is pretty easy to get why someone who followed distance running during Pre's era who was not a US resident might not get the focus on him. I also think the Mr. Tough guy talk was not etched in reality. He could run from the front vs. US runners because he was simply better than them. No risk whatsoever of being run down if he faltered. Outside the US that wasn't going to work near the top. He had to attempt to run away from or run the kick out of the world's best because he wasn't likely to win any other way. Then, when it counted in Munich, Mr. I'm going to find out who the toughest is did what everyone else does. He tucked in and waited until he couldn't wait any longer. For some, that's a mile out, for others its 500m out and for others it is 200m out. Doesn't make anyone any tougher than any other. He also bitched after another race a few years later when Norpoth ran him down in what was, IIRC, a fairly quick race for the time. He wanted Norpoth to lead and he wouldn't apparently. Even as a 17 year old my thought was "why would Norpoth do that?". Pre had to lead. Norpoth didn't. Again, it doesn't make either runner tougher than the other. I didn't get the whining.

                                As an aside to the British board members, didn't Dave Bedford have a similar following?

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