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What would Steve Prefonaine have acomplished if he had lived

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  • What would Steve Prefonaine have acomplished if he had lived

    I often wonder this.Idefinetly think he would of medaled in the 76 Olympics,and maybe beyond.He would of set more records,and probably would of been a great coach.

  • #2
    I think we saw the best of him.
    From '72 to '75 he flatlined in the 13;21 - 13;23 range.
    IMO, he would have been a non-factor in the Montreal 5000 and
    perhaps 4th in the 10,000. Doubt he could have beaten Foster for third.


    http://mb.trackandfieldnews.com/discuss ... hp?t=34494

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    • #3
      cmon man.I dont think we saw the best of Pre.H e came very close to medaling in 72 and may have run alot longer than his 24 years.

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      • #4
        Pre was not keeping up with the rapid progress developing around the world.
        His 5000 meter AR was short lived. Runners that consistently beat Pre did not medal in Montreal.

        I doubt if he would have improved much.

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        • #5
          Maybe he would have matured as a runner and improved significantly. Or not. I cannot see that he was cut out to be a coach. He was not an organizationally oriented personality.

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          • #6
            I definitely think Pre would have improved well under 13:21-23 in the 5000m. He never really got into fast races on the European circuit. I think during the 1975 and 1976 summer seasons he would have run at least 13:10-15. And IMHO I think his best distance would have been the 10,000m. He may have medaled there...but Pre's biggest draw back ,which may have kept him from ever medaling at the world level, was his lack of a kick at the end.

            I see him somewhat like Ron Clarke in that regard....he could run fast and hard, but not hard enough to run away from the better runners who had good finishing kicks.

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            • #7
              Not true, he did run in Europe and lost to Puttemans, Norpoth, Dixon, Viren and even his former Oregon teammate Kvalheim.

              He essentially plateaued in 1972, 73, 74 and 1975.

              The WR was 13:13 when he died and he had numerous opportunities to run under 13:20.

              His 3 mile PB was a superior mark, but still not comparable to a 13:10 - 13:15 5000.

              It was the early '80s before a runner of European descent ran 13:10 or better.

              I agree that his best opportunity in Montreal was the 10,000 and he would have been fortunate to match his M√ľnchen fourth.

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              • #8
                Given his budding political acitivism, name recognition, and charisma, I suspect he would have become Govenor of Oregon-- another Tom McCall.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ed gee
                  I doubt if he would have improved much.

                  I disagree.

                  Not sure how he would have done vis-a-vis other runners in the world (Rono coming!), but in terms of improving, he would have had a lot more to come.

                  For one reason, he was just starting to use altitude training. He spent time with Shorter up high for the first time in his life and a month later--in his first (and sadly, last) serious 5,000m. of 1975--ran a little over a second off his PR/AR for the distance.

                  Moreover, Pre had a leg length difference and as a result, had sciatica flare-ups. In the mid-seventies, chiropractic was just beginning to get recognized as helpful for athletes (Stones and Leroy Perry bringing attention to it). Chiropractic isn't capable of miracles, but it can and does help things like sciatica. Plus air-soled shoes just around the corner (less pounding to irritate older bodies). And reportedly--with Nike's stipend--money wasn't as big an issue any more. To say nothing about other perks just beginning, like Athletics West, i.e., athlete support.

                  I think there's lots of reasons he would have improved. How much? Who knows.

                  He'd have certainly been one of Nike's instant millionaires when the company went public!

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                  • #10
                    Alot of people talk about a span in the 70s when supposedly he reached his peak.The guy was only 24 for god sakes.If someone thinks that a distance runner reaches his peak 2 or 3 years removed from college,well let me call the circus because they are hiring clowns for a good laugh.In distance running you never know when improvement is coming,just ask GEBRAILESLE,who ran a world record in his 30s.

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                    • #11
                      He would own Eugene, Oregon outright.

                      He almost does now and he's been dead for over 30 years.

                      But then maybe he's like Elvis...

                      Worth more dead financially, than alive.
                      The fool has said...there is no God. Psa 14

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                      • #12
                        We've had long discussions on this in the past. I could be wrong, but I think the "consensus" was that he would have ended up with a medal--not gold--in the 10K in '80. (That requires a second rewriting of history, of course!)

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                        • #13
                          "If someone thinks that a distance runner reaches his peak 2 or 3 years removed from college,well let me call the circus because they are hiring clowns for a good "

                          There is no such thing as "a" distance runner. Typically, distance runners do keep improving up into late 20's and maybe beyond. On the other hand, we've seen runners who peak at 17. All speculation about Pre is in our imagination.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by gh
                            We've had long discussions on this in the past. I could be wrong, but I think the "consensus" was that he would have ended up with a medal--not gold--in the 10K in '80. (That requires a second rewriting of history, of course!)
                            Some have also noted that Pre's 10K AR may have been his best overall performance.

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                            • #15
                              Just a friendly question for ed gee....I think a lot of what you say has merit, but can you give me one example of a race that Pre was in where he could have run under 13:20?

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