The Success Of Steve Prefontaine By Tom Jordan

1578 Words 7 Pages
Depending on who was asked, Steve Prefontaine was either a brash firebrand or an inspirational genius. For his competitors, Prefontaine’s talent and style sent shivers down their spines and made the end result seem a foregone conclusion. For his fans, he had a strange combination of charisma and mystery that gave him an indescribable magnetism. The author of Prefontaine’s biography, Tom Jordan, summed this allure up when he prefaced his book by saying, “There was something about Steve Prefontaine that demanded attention” (Jordan 3). Part of this was certainly his talent; Prefontaine once held the American record in every distance track event. However, even more remarkable than what he did is how he did it. Prefontaine had relied upon his superior …show more content…
In the case of Prefontaine, his legend is even more surprising since he was never able to reach the prime of his career. However, Jordan believes there is more to Prefontaine’s life than what he could have accomplished. In the end of his book, he writes, “There has come a realization that Pre’s story is not simply one of a gifted athlete dying young. It is about an individual who in an incredibly short amount of time helped instigate the end of amateurism, set the tone for a brash company that became the Nike colossus, and inspired generations of American distance runners by his complete commitment to wringing everything out of what he called ‘the Gift’” (Jordan 4). Not only do people draw motivation from his story, but he is also an idol for young runners. As put by Boston Marathon winner Alberto Salazar, who watched Prefontaine as a child, “As other kids who were aspiring baseball players might hear about Babe Ruth, that’s how I heard about Pre” (Jordan 34). Emerson assumes a similar stature within the literary world, and just as Prefontaine helped foster the attitude that would embody Nike and the 1970’s running boom, Emerson shaped America’s first cultural movement and set the stage for the ones that would follow. As put by USHistory.org, Emerson and other transcendentalists, “Created an American ‘state of mind’ in which imagination was better than reason, creativity was better than theory, and action was better than contemplation” (“Transcendentalism, An American Philosophy”). Emerson’s actions as the movement’s leader has ensured its continued success as a part of American education today. The timeless nature of both men lies in their enduring principles that are rooted in transcendentalist philosophy. Mental strength and perseverance will be relevant no matter the time period. Whether

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