Welcome! › Forums › Running Forum › Prefontaine may have been the best distance runner ever › Re: Re: Prefontaine may have been the best distance runner ever
He may have had the potential to be the best distance runner ever. We will never know. Based strictly on performances, which is how this type of thing should be considered, he wasn't even the best distance runner of his time.
Why does he always get heralded as so great? Well, he was truly a very good distance runner with the potential to be great, even one of the best ever. I think the reason he gets heralded as “best ever” or “one of the all-time greats”, though, boils down to the James Dean complex. He showed the potential to be one of the all-time greats, maybe even the best ever, but never had the chance to live up to that potential. Recalling that potential and remembering that personality, which was and still is so unique in distance running, and not knowing how good he could have been result in building up this legendary image.
Whenever I say something like this, I'm always bashed by Pre fans. I'm not saying he shouldn't be recognized and his accomplishments respected. We should just keep things in perspective. Best ever? Maybe he could have been but, based on actual accomplishments, not even the best of his time.