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New statue honors track star Steve Prefontaine

The statue of Steve Prefontaine from sculptor Mike Leckie. It will be on display at the 5th Street Market.
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 joined the KLCC News Team in 2022. He is a graduate from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. Born in Portland, Wilk began working in radio at a young age, serving as a DJ and public affairs host across Oregon.