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New statue honors track star Steve Prefontaine

Nathan Wilk
The statue of Prefontaine at the 5th Street Market.

A new statue in downtown Eugene celebrates the legacy of Oregon-born track star Steve Prefontaine.

The bronze, six-feet-tall statue of Prefontaine will be on display at the 5th Street Market through July.

Prefontaine was a runner from the University of Oregon. Before his accidental death in 1975 at the age of 24, he set records and competed in the 1972 Summer Olympics.

The piece’s sculptor, Mike Leckie, was at Oregon State University during Prefontaine's stint at UO. He calls Prefontaine a “showman.”

“It was his independence, and his uncompromising drive. He was such an honest man, we were so much alike, that to have him disappear off the world—I think I've been planning this piece since he died.”

Leckie completed the statue with Prefontaine’s sister Linda. He will speak at a celebration at the Market on July 14. After this summer, the sculpture will tour schools across Oregon.

Nathan Wilk is a KLCC Reporting Intern through the Snowden Internship Program. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Wilk began volunteering in radio at 11-years-old, and he has served as a radio DJ and host on multiple local stations. Today, he is a Journalism undergraduate at the University of Oregon with a focus in local artistic communities. In his free time, Wilk enjoys writing music and reading old horror novels.