Steve Prefontaine Over or Under Rated?


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Steve Prefontaine Over or Under Rated?

Postby Guest » Tue Oct 14, 2003 6:44 am

What do you think of him???
Would he have won the gold in 76?
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Re: Steve Prefontaine Over or Under Rated?

Postby The King » Tue Oct 14, 2003 7:05 am

I think he would of won the 1976 OG Men's 5000m final.

As for either over-rated or under-rated..
I don't know...
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Re: Steve Prefontaine Over or Under Rated?

Postby Guest » Tue Oct 14, 2003 7:24 am

I don't think he was overrated. He was up there with the best 5000 runners of his time, and that is certainly a big accomplishment.

However, I don't think he would have beaten Viren in 1976.
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Re: Steve Prefontaine Over or Under Rated?

Postby Guest » Tue Oct 14, 2003 10:20 am

Upper echelon on world scene ... but unproven.

Viren owned 5 and 10k Olys - no way Pre (or anyone else) wins 76

ANY chance of breaking into medals would be if he 'goes' with 6, maybe 7 laps to go ... AFTER an honest pace the first part of race. No walking in that company. That was my contention then (before Munich), my story now and I'm stickin to it. I never believed he could win waitin til last mile.

Over-under-rated: deification by subsequent generations over the top. He did revolutionize the sport in USA - and not many with his moxy. Throw em down, see who's left.
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Re: Steve Prefontaine Over or Under Rated?

Postby gh » Tue Oct 14, 2003 10:25 am

He's perhaps mildly overrated in a domestic sense and definitely overrated in an international sense. Does the name Ian Stewart ring a bell? You may recall that he was the one whose late charge beat out Pre for bronze in Munich. They were born 2 years and 10 days apart (Stewart older). Pre fanatics love to think of him as this incredible prodigy. He was damned good, but....

Here are their 5K world rankings at the same age:

20--Stewart 3, Pre 10
21--Stewart 1, Pre 4
22--Stewart 3, Pre 5

Does anybody think of Stewart as one of the all-time greats? I think not, but he was certainly more of a "prodigy" than Pre was and fared far better on the itnernational stage.

And if you'd like to cite for me what a tough little bastard Pre was, note that Stewart took up running so that he could get into the British Special Forces and his career was interrupted by minor trifles such as serving in Viet Nam and sitting for weeks in the belly of a submarine submerged off the Arctic coast of a hostile Soviet Union. Talk about under-rated guys!
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Re: Steve Prefontaine Over or Under Rated?

Postby Guest » Tue Oct 14, 2003 11:25 am

I was rather young when he passed on, but I have nothing but positive memories of Pre. He was a credit to the sport, and he left a standard for up and comers to go by.
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Re: Steve Prefontaine Over or Under Rated?

Postby pickle47 » Tue Oct 14, 2003 12:03 pm

Again, as a distance runner who came of age during Pre's years, he was something of a hero to me also. Depending on your personality at the time, you would find yourself identifying with either him or Frank Shorter. Although there were other good American runners, those two sort of carried the American torch for the 3K to 10K distances.
Was he among the best in the world? Absolutely. The best? Of course not. And I've already said on another thread that he wouldn't have beaten Viren.

I don't think Pre had refined his tactics to the level necessary to beat racers with better kicks that possessed the same or better fitness than he did. Recall that Brendan Foster started using mid-race surges effectively in 1974 and 75, but Carlos Lopes employed a more gradual acceleration from the front in the '76 10K and Foster couldn't handle that strategy.

It probably would have taken something as radical as John Ngugi's mid-race surge in the Seoul 5K (when have we seen a race like that since then??!!) to win the '76 race, and I don't think Pre or anyone else had the goods at that time.
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Re: Steve Prefontaine Over or Under Rated?

Postby Guest » Tue Oct 14, 2003 3:46 pm

>He's perhaps mildly overrated in a domestic sense
>and definitely overrated in an international
>sense. Does the name Ian Stewart ring a bell? You
>may recall that he was the one whose late charge
>beat out Pre for bronze in Munich. They were born
>2 years and 10 days apart (Stewart older). Pre
>fanatics love to think of him as this incredible
>prodigy. He was damned good, but....

Here are
>their 5K world rankings at the same
>age:

20--Stewart 3, Pre 10
21--Stewart 1, Pre
>4
22--Stewart 3, Pre 5

Does anybody think of
>Stewart as one of the all-time greats? I think
>not, but he was certainly more of a "prodigy"
>than Pre was and fared far better on the
>itnernational stage.

And if you'd like to cite
>for me what a tough little bastard Pre was, note
>that Stewart took up running so that he could get
>into the British Special Forces and his career
>was interrupted by minor trifles such as serving
>in Viet Nam and sitting for weeks in the belly of
>a submarine submerged off the Arctic coast of a
>hostile Soviet Union. Talk about under-rated
>guys!

Garry - very curious if anything akin to that has been published in T&FN. ... just curious.
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Re: Steve Prefontaine Over or Under Rated?

Postby Guest » Tue Oct 14, 2003 5:35 pm

Pre was a tough guy. He was novel in that not many Americans ever challenge at the very top of the distance running scene. He spoke his mind. The 'rebel' image is something that Americans enjoy in many sports etc.

He wouldn't have won the 5k in '76. He probably wouldn't even have medaled. I think he would have gotten the silver in the 10k if had been around. The guys in the 5k were better, faster runners than Pre at the shorter distance.
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Re: Steve Prefontaine Over or Under Rated?

Postby Guest » Tue Oct 14, 2003 7:11 pm

Very interesting post by gh...can't argue with those facts re: Ian Stewart, but you have to admire Pre's moxy...even tho he was doomed from the beginning by the slow pace,he had the guts to take off in the final four laps and try to steal the race. But Pre always needed a fast pace to do well..he had no blazing kick, only a devastating long drive on toop of a fast, punishing pace. I would have liked to see how well Pre would have done in todays fast, rabbited European races--I think he would have done very well.
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Re: Cult of Personality

Postby tafnut » Wed Oct 15, 2003 3:48 am

As a runner: probably over-rated.
As a personality and 'force' in track at the time: rated where he should be - extremely high. He did more to galvanize Am distance running and inspire others than did even Shorter, who's 2nd in influence. Even more than Lindgren [gh heresy] and Mills (and Schul) whose exploits were huge. 'Pre lives' is still a slogan among runners among the current crop of high school runners - how's that for influence? His quote about making the race come down to who had the most guts is the best running quote ever. He was not the most talented or the fastest and I doubt he would have won in '76, but he did more than anyone else to stir our passions. Did they do two movies and a documentary about Stewart? I don't recall that.
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Re: Cult of Personality

Postby MJD » Wed Oct 15, 2003 6:19 am

>Did they do two movies and a
>documentary about Stewart? I don't recall that.

Do they know much about Pre in Europe?
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Re: Cult of Personality

Postby Guest » Wed Oct 15, 2003 8:19 am

Would he have won in 1976. Probably not but one thing I can guarentee. He would have made the guys who medaled hurt all the more. They would have paid a higher price for their medals.
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Re: Cult of Personality

Postby gh » Wed Oct 15, 2003 8:25 am

> Did they do two movies and a documentary about Stewart? I don't recall that.>>

Stewart didn't have the good fortune to kill himself in a car accident at a young age. That's always a good way to achieve cult status. But he still has a chance to die of a gruesome disease, which also works well.
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Re: Cult of Personality

Postby larwood » Wed Oct 15, 2003 9:24 am

Phidippides is the first example of fame
from an early demise. I am sure if he just
roared in, said his spiel and then went and had
a brew or two (or whatever they drank in those
days) history would be different. (At least
in Boston on Partiots Day.)
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Re: Cult of Personality

Postby MJD » Wed Oct 15, 2003 9:30 am

>Stewart didn't
>have the good fortune to kill himself in a car
>accident at a young age. That's always a good way
>to achieve cult status.

Excellent point. I'm going to get flamed for this but Cobain and Kennedy quickly come to mind.
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Re: Cult of Personality

Postby Guest » Wed Oct 15, 2003 6:16 pm

I must have missed something....what is the gruesome disease that Ian Stewart may die of?
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Re: Cult of Personality

Postby MJD » Thu Oct 16, 2003 2:12 am

>I must have missed something....what is the
>gruesome disease that Ian Stewart may die of?

It was just a "Brian's Song" reference. Nothing wrong with the man.
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Re: Steve Prefontaine Over or Under Rated?

Postby Guest » Thu Oct 16, 2003 10:50 am

I don't think Pre had
>refined his tactics to the level necessary to
>beat racers with better kicks that possessed the
>same or better fitness than he did. Recall that
>Brendan Foster started using mid-race surges
>effectively in 1974 and 75, but Carlos Lopes
>employed a more gradual acceleration from the
>front in the '76 10K and Foster couldn't handle
>that strategy.

Foster was ill for that race and still managed to hang on to third. Pre was very similar to Lopes and might have fought Lopes for the silver at 10k.

He doesn't medal at 5k.
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Re: Steve Prefontaine Over or Under Rated?

Postby Guest » Thu Oct 16, 2003 11:19 am

<It probably would have taken something as radical as John Ngugi's mid-race surge in the Seoul 5K (when have we seen a race like that since then??!!) to win the '76 race, and I don't think Pre or anyone else had the goods at that time.>

I do not have access to my T&FN etc. right now. To my thinking, the most remarkable mid-race surge in a long distance race at a recent "high-level" championship, was Paul (?) Kipkoech's run in the 10K, at the Worlds (87?/89?). What a shame that ill health prevented him from showing us more of his talent in future years!
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Re: Steve Prefontaine Over or Under Rated?

Postby Guest » Sat Oct 18, 2003 10:00 am

"As a runner: probably over-rated.
As a personality and 'force' in track at the time: rated where he should be - extremely high. He did more to galvanize Am distance running and inspire others than did even Shorter, who's 2nd in influence."

This states it quite well. I'm a huge fan and Pre was an extremely important icon/role model when I was competing. However, it's clear that his memory is far more vital in the US than anywhere else. In Europe, he's simply a guy who probably had a good deal more potential than he ever realized. One of the reasons he's so avidly remembered today is precisely because of all the (we assume) untapped potential--we can imagine that he would have accomplished anything and everything.
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Re: Steve Prefontaine Over or Under Rated?

Postby Guest » Sat Oct 18, 2003 10:59 am

NO,,,MAYBEE A LITTLE BUT THE BOTTOM LINE WAS AND YOU HAVE TO TALK TO BILL DELLINGER FACE TOP FACE,PRE 1ST HELD 6 AMERICAN RECORDS+ONE MORE.I THINK HE WOULD HAVE BEATEN VIREN IN MONTREAL IN 5K NOT 10K.HE WAS ACCORDING TO BOWERMAN IN 99,PREPARING FOR SUB 13:10 IN 5K HEADING TOWARDS SUB 13,PROBABLY WORLD CUP-77.

HERES SOMETHING NO ONE HAS EVER EVER MENTIONED,PRE WAS GOING TO RUN THE 5K&1500 SURPRISE AT 76 OLYMPIC TRIALS.HE FELT HE COULD EASILY BEING IN EUGENE RUN A 335 AT HAYWARDFIELD.3:36.MAYBEE FASTER.IN STEVES MIND THE REAL TEST OF HIS CAREER WAS WHO WAS GOING UNDER 3:50 IN THE MILE IN 1976 WALKER DID BUT PRE WANTED IN TOO.OUTSIDE OF RICK WOLHUTER,HE REMAINED UNBEATABLE AGAINST OTHER AMERICANS HE AND WOLHUTER WERE THE 76 SURPRISE SHOWDOWN IN EUGENE.MILE HISTORY WAS CALLING IN 1976.MOST NO ONE KNOWS BUT PRE HAD INTENDED ON RUNNING IN KINGSTON JAMAICA IN 1975 MAY WHEN BAYI BROKE JIM RYANS WORLD RECORD,HE COUKLDNT HIS NORDITALIA ATHLETES RIGHTS MEET AGAINST THE FINNS WAS AT THE SAME TIME ALMOST&VIREN NEVER SHOWED UP.

U LEARN SOMETHING NEW EVERYDAY.
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Re: Steve Prefontaine Over or Under Rated?

Postby Guest » Sat Oct 18, 2003 1:50 pm

yo, turn off the caps lock, dude - no need to shout.
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Re: Steve Prefontaine Over or Under Rated?

Postby Guest » Sat Oct 18, 2003 5:44 pm

I do not have access to my T&FN etc.
>right now. To my thinking, the most remarkable
>mid-race surge in a long distance race at a
>recent "high-level" championship, was Paul (?)
>Kipkoech's run in the 10K, at the Worlds
>(87?/89?). What a shame that ill health prevented
>him from showing us more of his talent in future
>years!>

That was '87. I think he ran around a 14:00 first half and then ran 13:38 for the second half which at the time was considered a pretty quick finish.

I think he died of hepatitis?
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