Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Movie, Prefontaine

I’ve been running for 12 years, I had heard about a man named, Prefontaine but never really understood his place in the running world.  I knew he was a pretty good long distance runner, and would-be cult hero from Nike-Town, but not much else.  Now after watching this movie, I understand the place Steve Prefontaine holds in the collective history of U.S.A track and field, the Olympics and our present day Olympic teams.

This movie did a skillful job of interlacing Pre’s youth with his desire to be the best distance runner in the world.  The story was entertaining and inspiring, and it also shed light on the historic events taking place within our country and the International scene of the 1972 Olympics Games in Munich, Germany.

Prefontaine was an aggressive runner, insisting on going out hard and not relinquishing leads. He was quoted as saying, "No one will ever win a 5,000 meter by running an easy two miles. Not against me." He would later state, "I am going to work so that it's a pure guts race. In the end, if it is, I'm the only one that can win it". A local celebrity, chants of "Pre! Pre! Pre!" became a frequent feature at Hayward Field, the mecca for track and field in the U.S.A. Fans wore t-shirts that read "LEGEND", while those who supported other teams wore shirts with the phrase "STOP PRE" printed on a stop sign.

I found this movie to be both inspiring and educational.  As a runner, this movie provided me a glimpse of who could have been the greatest distance runner of all time.  And as an American it offered me a look at history.  As a young boy I remember very little about the 1972 Olympics, I do remember a news broadcast talking about guerillas (terrorists) holding athletes as hostages.  Now I am witness to this event threw the eyes and ears of Steve Prefontaine.  I recommend this movie to anyone interested in learning more about great athlete, an interesting and complex human being, determined runner and a National Hero. 

Pre changed the way the U.S. looks at it amateur athletes. 

What's your thought on Pre?  Are you following the U.S. in the Olympics?  Let us know. 


  1. I have never heard of him. I will need to check this out.

  2. Rob,
    Great runner...good story but tragic ending.