Pre's sister: 'I had not known that my brother was that famous'
EUGENE, Ore. - Being in the stands at Hayward Field this week reminds Neta Prefontaine of the first time she saw her brother Steve run at Oregon.
The crowd went wild.
"I was like amazed, because I had not known that my brother was that famous," she said Wednesday.
Her brother - simply known as "Pre" to generations of runners - died in a car crash in 1975.
He was 24.
Decades later, Neta enjoys watching the Olympic trials, meeting the athletes - and seeing people react when they learn she is Pre's sister.
"Sometimes they come to me and cry and put their arms around me, and I feel so close to them," she said. "Little kids will ask me about Steve, and I will ask them, what do you want to do when you grow up, you know? And they'll say: I want to be like Steve."
neta goes out of her way to reach out to her brother's fans, even spending time at Pre's Rock autographing posters for her brother's fans.
"People come from all over the world here, and I go up to the rock, and I'm up there for quite a while, and I talk to these people, and you know what? They are so loving towards Steve," she said.
Neta said Pre's fans often visit just to touch the rock and say goodbye.
Mark Hulme is one of those fans.
"He was my inspiration," he said. "I went on to run in high school, I ran in college and I ran after college, and he's always been someone that's been very important to me as a runner and as a person."