Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Pre Pre Pre

Check out this incredibly detailed flickr collection with pictures of Steve Prefontaine

Oregon junior Steve Prefontaine at Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto, CA, 
May 20, 1972, for the PAC-8, 3-mile Championship. 
Pre won in 13:32.2--from the cover photo for Racing Techniques booklet, 
Runner's World, July 1972

Pre almost always wore Adidas through high school and most of his 
college years 

 After graduating from Oregon in the Spring of 1973, Pre was broke – he 
was no longer being subsidized by his University of Oregon athletic 
scholarship and he had no job. Former Oregon Track and Field head coach 
Bill Bowerman, a co-founder of Blue Ribbon Sports (to become Nike) 
arranged for BRS to subsidize Pre's training leading up to the 1976 
Montreal Summer Olympics. Pre earned a salary by working in the BRS/Nike 
store in Eugene, acting as the company liaison with other athletes, and 
helping put on clinics for high school and college kids. The modest $5000 
deal enabled Pre to move out of the trailer and into a house in Eugene.
It was during the 1973 track season when Pre started wearing Nike track 
shoes in competition.

These images were taken upon the occasion of the opening of the new 
retail store for Blue Ribbon Sports (now Nike) at 855 Olive St. in Eugene, 
Oregon, in the 73-74 period (the first store opened in 1968). Geoff and 
Pre traveled together often, with Hollister selling shoes out of his car. 
A former Oregon steeplechaser under Bill Bowerman, Geoff was the third 
employee of what would become Nike, after Phil Knight and Steve

Steve Prefontaine's track shoes--an overview. 

Depicted are examples of Pre's running shoes derived from various online 
sources. Pre's actual shoe size is a guarded secret to prevent scammers 
from selling fake "relics" supposedly belonging to Pre.

He ran almost exclusively in Adidas in high school and most of his college 

meets. He wore red, white, and blue, and green and yellow Oregon color, 
versions of Adidas. He wore Adidas in the 1972 Olympics even though he 
had an established relationship with Bill Bowerman and Nike.

Pre set his first US NCAA record wearing Adidas shoes, the 5000m at a 

US-USSR meet in Berkelry, CA, July 3, 1971 (the card on the Puma shoes 
image, bottom left, is incorrect). Pre wore Pumas when he set his first 
national record of any sort: the high school/prep 2-mile April 25, 1969. 
He also wore them winning the Oregon prep mile record on May 9, 1969 
and the Oregon Indoor Invitational in Portland January 31, 1970.

There's only one photo in the flickr album of Pre wearing Onitsuka Tigers in 

competition, while winning the Pac-8 cross country championship race at 
Junction City, Oregon (north of Eugene) on October 30, 1971. He also wore 
a trainer version for a physiological study in 1971--a study that lasted 
several years.

There's also one image in the album of Pre wearing North Star shoes, but 

they were likely just casual wear. North Star was a popular brand of trainers 
in the 70s and 80s. They are still in business, but don't make track and 
running shoes--mostly just casual wear shoes.

Pre went almost exclusively Nike beginning in 1973 when he returned to 

Oregon competition after red-shirting the fall 1972 cross country season. 
The first datable photo I have of him wearing Nikes in competition is 
April 27, 1973 at the Oregon Twilight meet. There is a grainy photo dated 
March 3, 1973 in a Hayward Field meet, but it is too blurry for a positive 
determination. Then a Feb 1, 1973 newspaper image of Pre with Cub Scouts, 
wearing Nikes. Also a photo of him wearing Nike warmups and shoes 
walking about a track field--it is dated from the Olympic time trials in July, 
1972, but the ID is tenuous at best. He wore Adidas in this meet competition. 
Nike's track shoe prototype was developed by Pre's Oregon Track and Field 
head coach. Bill Bowerman, with detailed input by Pre.

In the red box to the right are three images of an original 1970s pair of the 

Nike Montreal model spikes in Oregon colors--identical to the pair Pre wore 
for his last race on May 29, 1975 before he was killed in a one-car accident 
that same night. Someone bought this pair for well over $2000 in August 2012 
on ebay.

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