There is some residual romanticism when speaking of American running in the Seventies– “Oh look at how bad Pre wanted it! He was living on food stamps. No one today has that kind of drive!” And that’s true, a lot of people aren’t willing to sacrifice a career, a family, kids to chase a metallic disc.

But they shouldn’t have had to; for years officials fought to preserve the sanctity of “amateurism,” and to keep money from being a motivation (while simultaneously raking it in themselves), but does anyone argue for the sanctity of amateurism in any other sport?

Baseball turned professional in the late eighteen hundreds and arguments for amateurism were quickly dispelled by the better brand of ball playing. Somehow runners, though, had to fight for decades to be able to earn a legal living.