Wednesday, December 15, 2010
DVR Alert: Prefontaine
There were 2 films made on the life of Steve Prefontaine. This is definitely the better of the two.
Steve Prefontaine (Jared Leto) was America's greatest distance runner in the 1970's. Under the tutelage of legendary Oregon Track coach and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman (portrayed brilliantly by R. Lee Ermey) he shattered NCAA and AAU records.
Too small and legs too short, Steve Prefontaine held every American record between 2,000 and 10,000 meters. A feat that's never been accomplished since. Pre was the little engine that could. He won races on sheer determination. Pre was the favorite for Gold in the '72 Munich Olympics.
He finished a disappointing 4th in Munich.
But Steve returned home and took on the powerful AAU and their practices. While AAU officials were traveling 1st Class and living in style, athletes were struggling to survive off Food Stamps and forced to pay their own way and compete in specified events to maintain their amateur status..
Steve Prefontaine changed all that. He stood up to the AAU and won. Now, Olympic athletes have proper training facilities, accommodations and nutrition. They are no longer the unpaid puppets of the AAU.
Tragically, Steve was killed in a car wreck prior to the Montreal Olympics. But his legacy lives on with each Team USA that competes in the Olympics. One man can change the system.
You have 1 chance to catch Prefontaine this Friday at 1:05p on Showtime Extreme (DirecTv 549). I can't recommend this film enough. It's greatness for the whole family.