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Lot # 1202: Steve Prefontaine's Bib from 1970 NCAA Cross Country Championship with Handwritten Provenance by Prefontaine - His 1st NCAA Championship!

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Historic piece of pop culture and sports history is up for grabs as this is THE bib that distance runner extraordinaire Steve Prefontaine wore during his first ever NCAA Cross Country Championship victory. Prefontaine helped spark the 1970s running boom and his brief life was the subject of two documentaries. Bib is from November 23, 1970, at College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and our consignor detailed how he obtained the bib: "I was standing by the Oregon team gawking at them as they put their warm-ups on after the race. Their coach, Bill Dellinger, noticed me and yelled, 'Hey kid!' to me. I thought he was going to tell me to get away, but instead he motioned me to come over to him and asked me if I’d like Prefontaine’s number. I was dumbfounded and took it. But I was too shy to approach Prefontaine and ask him to sign it. Later, I mentioned in a letter to him that Dellinger had given me the number and that I had pinned it on a bulletin board as an inspiration." Comes with a program from the meet, and Prefontaine is listed as number "506" under Oregon University's roster. The bib itself measures 5.5x8.5" and the sides were torn by the runners to decrease chances of their arms getting in the way during the race On the back of the bib, our consignor wrote "Steve Prefontaine's number won in 1970 NCAA cross Country Championships held at Wm+Mary, which he won in record time." On December 1st, just over a week after the race, Prefontaine replied to our consignor with a handwritten letter stating: "I slightly remember you standing there with the red cap on you should of said something. I'm glad you found some use for that no. 506 and I hope I can live up to yours and everybody elses expectations of me." Mailing envelope is postmarked December 1st and the letter itself is also dated "Dec 1" on top right corner. Also comes with an additional handwritten letter by Steve to our consignor, dated 9-16-70 (two months before the Championship), in which Steve writes "...Yes I'll be in William & Mary this winter. That is if our team wins our conference..." Also comes with a newspaper clipping in which you can see Steve running with the bib on! Pre participated in the '72 Munich Olympics and just missed the medal stand with a 4th place finish in the 5,000, and was tragically killed in an auto accident while in training for the '76 Games at the age of 24.

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