Friday, July 4, 2008

Where would Nike be without Pre?

Steve Roland Prefontaine (January 25, 1951 – May 30, 1975) (nicknamed Pre) was an American middle and long-distance runner. Prefontaine is considered to be among the greatest and most inspirational runners of the modern era by many of his fans. Prefontaine helped inspire a running boom in the 1970s along with contemporaries Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers. Born and raised in Coos Bay, Oregon, Prefontaine was primarily a long-distance runner who once held the American record in the five distance track events from the 2000 meters to the 10,000 meters.He is known for his extremely aggressive "front-running" racing style and for always believing in giving a full effort. Prefontaine died at the age of 24 in a car accident.

Following high school, Prefontaine enrolled at the University of Oregon to train under coach Bill Bowerman (who in 1964 co-founded Blue Ribbon Sports, later known as Nike shoe company.

In 1964, Bowerman entered into a handshake agreement with Phil Knight, who had been a miler under him in the 1950s, to start an athletic footwear distribution company called Blue Ribbon Sports, later known as Nike, Inc.. Knight managed the business end of the partnership, while Bowerman experimented with improvements in athletic footwear design.

Bowerman's design ideas led to the creation of a running shoe in 1966 that would ultimately be named 'Cortez' in 1968, which quickly became a top-seller and remains one of Nike's most iconic footwear designs. Bowerman designed several Nike shoes, but is best known for ruining his wife's waffle iron in 1970 or 1971, experimenting with the idea of using waffle-ironed rubber to create a new sole for footwear that would grip but be lightweight.

Most people have probably seen the movie about his life "Without Limits" and shows the birth of the Nike Running Shoe.

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