Steve Prefontaine Birthday & Fun Facts

Height, Age, Net Worth, Biography & More

Apurba Deb
Feb 29, 2024 By Apurba Deb
Originally Published on Feb 06, 2023
Edited by Spandana Kantam
Fact-checked by Spandana Kantam
Steve Prefontaine Birthday & Fun Facts
Age: 1-99
Read time: 6.8 Min

About Steve Prefontaine

Steve Prefontaine, also known as Steve Roland Prefontaine, was an American athlete and professional runner born in the early '50s in Coos Bay, Oregon.

He represented the United States in long-distance running competitions. His father was a veteran US military welder who participated in the Second World War.

Steve Prefontaine holds several national records for completing 2,000 m and 10,000 m distance races. He represented the United States Olympic team in the 1972 Summer Olympic games, held in Munich, Germany. He was almost prepared for the following Summer Olympic games, held in Montreal, Canada. Unfortunately, he breathed his last a year before the game. He died in a car accident near his hometown at the age of 24. He was practicing in Oregon Track Club when he breathed his last. He was a notable athlete who captured the eyes of people with his running performances. He was ranked along with Jim Ryun, Bill Rodgers, and Frank Shorter. He lived a short life, but his documentary was released in the '90s. The Oregon Track Club organized Prefontaine Classic to honor his achievements, sporting spirit, and charisma.

Steve Prefontaine's Net Worth, Earnings & Spending Habits

What was Steve Prefontaine's net worth?

Steve Prefontaine had a good net worth earned throughout his career. However, his net worth details were not revealed to the public.

How much did Steve Prefontaine earn per year?

Although Steve Prefontaine earned well, his yearly earnings are not disclosed in the media.

Height, Age & Physical Attributes

How tall was Steve Prefontaine?

Steve Prefontaine stood at the height of 5 ft 9 in (175 cm).

How old was Steve Prefontaine?

Steve Prefontaine passed away at a very young age. He was 24 when he breathed his last. He was born on January 25, 1951, and died on May 30, 1975.

Childhood And Education

Steve Prefontaine was born in Coos bay, Oregon, on January 25, 1951. His father was Raymond Prefontaine, a veteran of the Second World War. His mother was Elfriede Prefontaine, a seamstress or an outfit designer. Raymond was in the US occupation force when he met Elfriede in Germany. Later, they returned to Coos Bay and gave birth to their children. He had two siblings, Neta Prefontaine and Linda Prefontaine. He was their only son and was a middle child. He and his sisters grew up in Coos Bay.

Steve Prefontaine was an enthusiastic and sporting person. He participated in cross-country competitions and other sporting events from eighth grade. He participated in basketball and soccer events at school. Yet, he didn't get a chance to play due to his height. He discovered a few cross-country players running and jogging toward a soccer field. It inspired him to become a runner. The cross-country players motivated him in physical education classes, and he developed his passion for participating in long-distance races. He almost finished second in the daily mile running two weeks into his training. Later, he chose cross-country running to take forward his passion.

He completed his high school education at Marshfield High School. After that, Walt McClure Jr. trained him, and he joined the University of Oregon under the coaching of Bill Bowerman. Bill Hayward also coached Walt McClure Sr. During the first two years, he completed his mile run in five minutes. He participated in his team as the seventh man but eventually reached second. In the state championship competition, he finished in 53rd place. Yet, he failed to qualify for the tournament the following year. Thus, he trained in the summer under the coaching of Walt McClure. Later, he participated in the junior cross-country competition and won first prize at the state level.

He achieved national records in his final year as he broke his previous records. He won back-to-back titles at the state level and remained undefeated. After that, he received offers from many colleges across the state. McClure also received numerous calls and letters from several universities. He chose the University Of Oregon for his collegiate career. He attended his state's university and completed his college education. His university coach Billy Bowerman wanted to recruit him as he was a very talented athlete. He wasn't aware of this. He trained well in college and became one of the most talented runners. Bill Bowerman sent him a letter to attend the university. After that, he participated as a runner in Oregon. Bill Bowerman praised him and assured him he would make him the world's most formidable runner if he attended the University of Oregon. He was up for the challenge and attended the university to train under Bill Bowerman. He became a successful runner in the country.

Family, Romance, And Relationships

Who was Steve Prefontaine's family?

Steve Prefontaine was born in Coos Bay. His father, Raymond Prefontaine, was a veteran World War soldier and his mother, Anna, was an outfit designer. He had two sisters, Linda Prefontaine and Neta Prefontaine.

Who was Steve Prefontaine dating?

Nancy Alleman was said to be his girlfriend at the time of his death. However, not much is known about his dating life.

Career And Professional Highlights

Best Known For…

Steve Prefontaine broke many records in running. In the early '70s, a prominent sports brand Nike sponsored him. He came fourth at the Munich Olympics of 1972 and held a record for completing a 5,000 m race. After that, he wanted to win a medal in the next Olympic game held in Montreal in 1976. Thus, ITA also sponsored him. Unfortunately, he lost his life a year before the event in a tragic car accident.

Steve Prefontaine was one of the greatest runners in American sporting history. He enrolled his name under Bill Bowerman's coaching at the University of Oregon. Bill Bowerman co-founded a sports company named Blue Ribbon Sports in 1964 (now known as Nike) that helped and sponsored him. Thus, he managed to ensure victory and won three consecutive 5,000 m races. Overall, he won four titles in 5,000 m. Later, he participated in the NCAA championship and won four successive 5,000 m titles.

After gaining many achievements, he became more aggressive in his running style. He also gained numerous fans across the country. His fans started wearing his themed jersey and shirts. Later, Sports Illustrated magazine introduced him on their cover page in 1970. At the same time, he appeared on the cover of Track and Field News' magazine.

He trained quite hard to participate in the Munich Olympic games of 1972. He set the record and completed a 5,000 m run within 14 minutes in the Olympic Trials. After a few months, he participated in the Olympics as an underdog. He was almost in the lead at the 5,000 m final. But he couldn't win. Lasse Virén from Finland came first, followed by Mohammed Gammoudi from Tunisia in second. He struggled to achieve third place as Ian Stewart of Great Britain beat him to secure third place. He ended up in fourth place in the competition. Later, he said that he underestimated Lasse Virén, Mohammed Gammoudi, and Ian Stewart. He also explained that he was disappointed about not winning the medal.

After this, he returned to his university and started training for the next Olympic games. At that time, Nike sponsored him with their products, such as shoes and clothes. Unfortunately, a year before the Montreal Olympic games, Steve Prefontaine died in a tragic automobile accident near his home in Eugene, Oregon. In the same year, he defeated a Finnish team in an NCAA prep meet in Eugene. After his demise, his University gave the notes Prefontaine made to his family members.

Charity Work

The local community in Coos Bay established a charity foundation called Steve Prefontaine Foundation Inc.

What awards did Steve Prefontaine win?

Oregon Sports Hall honored Steve Prefontaine by inducting him into the Hall of Fame. He won the gold medal in Colombia's 1971 Pan American Games.

Steve Prefontaine's Hobbies And Interests

Steve Prefontaine has had an interest in soccer and basketball.

Other Interesting Steve Prefontaine Facts And Trivia

  • Steve Prefontaine has participated in running events since eighth grade.
  • He completed his training in Eugene Parks and Hendricks Park.
  • He was honored in the '70s along with Jeff Galloway, Jim Ryun, and Bill Rodgers.
  • Famous Hollywood actor Jared Leto portrayed his role in the 1997 movie 'Prefontaine'.

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Steve Prefontaine Birthday & Fun Facts Facts

Birth Name

Steve Roland Prefontaine

Date of Birth


Date of Death




Place of Birth

Coos Bay


175 cm

Child Star?



University of Oregon


Raymond Prefontaine, Elfriede Prefontaine


Neta, Linda
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Written by Apurba Deb

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Finance and Accounting

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Apurba DebBachelor of Arts specializing in Finance and Accounting

With a degree in Accounting and Finance from City College, Kolkata, Apurba is a skilled academic writer specializing in commerce. In addition to his writing proficiency, he also holds diplomas in information technology and computerized accounting, giving him a comprehensive understanding of computer technology. Apurba's diverse skills enable him to produce high-quality and technically accurate content.

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