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The Stack-up: Rupp vs. Pre

As I promised, here is the comparison between Galen Rupp, the most decorated UO athlete in school history, and Steve Prefontaine. Rupp has accumulated a lot of accolades, but how does it look when you get down to nuts and bolts? (For simplicity’s sake, I’m only comparing their collegiate careers.)

NCAA Titles

Pre: Seven. Three in cross-country, four in the three-mile.

Rupp: Six. One cross-country, three indoor (3k, 5k and DMR) and two outdoor (5k and 10k).


Pre: Eight collegiate records and one American record in the 5k. Two still stand today (3-mile and 6-mile). Also holds record for fastest drunk tricycle bar lap at The Old Pad.

Rupp: Two collegiate records and American indoor record in the 5k.


Pre: Yes

Rupp: No

Olympic Performances

Pre: ’72 Munich. 4th in one of the most competitive 5k races ever fielded.

Rupp: ’08 Beijing. 13th in the 10k. The fastest non-African in the race.

Comparison of Best Times

Pre: Mile (3:54.6), 5k (13:21.87), 10k (did not compete in college. Post-collegiate PR was 27:43.6)

Rupp: Mile (3:57.86), 5k (13:30.49), 10k (27:33.48)

I’d also like to point out that Pre’s win/loss record was absurd. Pre lost only three races his entire collegiate career – one being a second place finish in the NCAA cross-country championship as a freshman. (Can anyone give me a confirmation on this? I can’t find a complete list of Pre’s races on the web.)

So there you go. Prefontaine pretty much comes out on top. And as one of our esteemed commenters pointed out, Pre spent a lot of time drinking beer and generally being a polecat, while Rupp sleeps in an altitude chamber at night. Of course, I don’t want to bag on the kid too much (“Oh, only a paltry six NCAA titles!”), but we can’t quite call him the best to ever don an Oregon jersey. That’s still Pre.

Best of luck to Rupp, though. It was fantastic to see him run, and I hope he tears it up at the international level. Lord knows the U.S. needs a viable 10k threat.

  1. nike urbanism duk says:

    The Register Guard had a very interesting column about some of the skepticism surrounding Salazar’s training methods and Rupp recently. To find the column use Google with keywords: salazar is leading the pack as a coach

  2. nike urbanism duk says:

    Glad you included the info about the Michael Jackson chamber issue. Koolaid guzzling Ducks should at least know what the “movement” they have joined is all about.

  3. CJ Ciaramella says:

    Pre still get him on that too. Rupp may have stopped to fix his shoe, but Pre ran a race with twelve stitches in his foot (and won).

  4. Rob Hartsock says:

    Where does the shoe incident rate? That act of fixing his shoe in the final of a race is gonna be legend in a few years… heck, it already is.

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