Oregon is a running state.
Steve Prefontaine is an Oregon legend.
If Prefontaine competed today, would he be an ultimate athlete?
Yes. The guy was setting American track records from the 2000 meter to the 10,000 meter runs before his tragic death in 1975. At the time, he was readying for the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.
The greatest athletes inspire people by the millions. Prefontaine had that hold on people. They knew him. They loved him.
People saw a spark in Prefontaine that made them want to run. And run they did. Millions took up running in the 1970s, inspired by Pre and others like Frank Shorter. From that era, Nike emerged and to this day is the name associated with the world’s greatest athletes.
Prefontaine’s legend is extraordinary. What made him an ultimate athlete was something that is still important today. It’s the ability to perform at a world class level and also inspire millions of others to discover a connection and an athlete within themselves.
That is an ultimate athlete. And that’s what made Prefiontaine truly one of the greats of all time.