Eugene, Hayward Field, May 29, 1975. A remarkable career that came to a sudden end. Steve Prefontaine personified in many ways the "joy of running"....and had a huge influence in the running boom that emerged in the 1970's.
Los Angeles Olympic Marathon, August 12, 1984 (Carlos Lopes,723)
During the year of 1984 Carlos Lopes made his greatest season. He started by winning his second world cross-country title in New Jersey. In July, in Stockholm, he and his teammate Fernando Mamede runned under the previous 10 000 meters world record time, set by Henry Rono in 1978. The best achievement of his career was yet to come. Under the last day of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Lopes made the race of a lifetime by winning the marathon in supreme style. He run the last 7 kilometres at an average speed of 2:55 per km, a violent pace at the end of a marathon. The winning time of 2:09:21 was the new Olympic Record, and stood for 24 years untill 2008. Carlos Lopes was by then 37 year old, and this win came at the same time as the big running boom of the 1980`s. This made him for sure economical independent for the rest of his life....and he deserved every penny. He retired from athletics in 1985 by setting a world best at the Rotterdam Marathon (2:07.12), and was the first human to run the 42.195 km in less than 2 h 8 min. Not to forget, one month before that, he had taken his third world cross-country title. And, until this day, he still is the last european athlete to do so. He combined, like the very best....a great physique, with huge mental strength.
Never afraid of "leading the pack". Unfortunately never got a gold medal at senior level. During the season of 1993 he became the world record holder of the 10 000m....for 5 days (!). The 1992 olympic final (10 000m) in which he bravely participated, is still a shame for the sport.