|Mark Spitz: Winning seven gold medals in a single Olympiad
[ 2006-08-29 10:53 ]
Mark Spitz is the greatest swimmer in history and holder of the most
extraordinary achievement of the modern Olympic Games: winning seven gold medal
victories in one Olympiad. And, each of the gold medals was won while setting a
Spitz won 11 Olympic medals over two Olympic Games but always will be best
remembered for his remarkable seven gold medals at the 1972 Games. That summer
in Munich, Spitz set four individual World records: 100-Meter(51.22), 200-Meter
Freestyle(1:52.78), 100-Meter(54.27), and 200-Meter Butterfly(2:00.70). He also
participated in three relay event World records: 4 x 100 Freestyle(3:26.42), 4 x
200 Freestyle(7:35.78), and 4 x 100 Medley(3:48.16). He swam the third leg of
the 200 Freestyle and 100 Medley, and the last leg of the 100 Freestyle.
His final victory came only hours before Palestinian terrorists took hostage
and eventually murdered 11 Israeli athletes in the Munich Olympic Village. Spitz
was unceremoniously whisked out of the country under heavy security guard.
In 1968, Spitz won four Olympic medals at the Mexico Games: golds in two
relay events—4 x 100(3:31.7) and 200(7:52.3), a silver in the 100-Meter
Butterfly(56.4), and a bronze in the 100-Meter Freestyle(53.0). Mark swam the
final leg of the World record–setting 4 x 100 event and swam third position on
the 4 x 200 team.
Between 1965 and 1972, Spitz won nine Olympic gold medals, one silver, and
one bronze; five Pan-American golds; 31 National U.S. Amateur Athletic Union
titles; and eight U.S. National Collegiate Athletic Association Champi-onships.
During those years, he set 33 World records.
He was World Swimmer of the
Year in 1967, 1971, and 1972. In 1971, Spitz became the first Jewish recipient
of the James E. Sullivan Award, given annually to the Amateur Athlete of the
Year. In bicentennial year 2000, Sports Illustrated named Spitz No. 33 on its
list of the"Top 100 Athletes of the 20th Century".