37 years ago today, Steve Prefontaine passed away after flipping his convertible on Skyline Drive in Eugene. Most of the younger generation of Oregon fans know about Prefontaine due to his untimely death, but few seem to know his accomplishments on the track.
A prodigy out of Coos Bay, Pre landed on the Sports Illustrated cover as a 19 year old distance runner. He won seven NCAA titles in Eugene, three in cross country (the only three years he competeted in the sport) and four in the three-mile. In his entire Oregon career, he only lost three races, none in any distance longer than a mile. After faltering down the stretch to finish out of the medals at the '72 Olympics in Munich, Prefontaine was determined to make up for it in Montreal in '76, and at the time of his death held every American record in every distance between 2,000 and 10,000 meters and between two and six miles. He would have gone into the Montreal Olympics as a US megastar.
So take a moment today to remember the greatest athlete in Oregon history. We'll link up the quack in the comments, but, today, Pre gets the front page to himself. He's certainly earned that.