Happy 65th Birthday Mark Spitz, He Of The Seven Golds Never To Reach Retirement Age

Life and Time(s) of Mark Spitz: his achievements made him a a poster boy for swimming, then and since

Time flies but not as fast as the fly times of a man born 65 years ago this Tuesday, February 10: Mark Spitz, he of the seven gold medals, all won in world records, at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. Happy Birthday Mr. Spitz

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Time flies but not as fast as the fly times of a man born 65 years ago this Tuesday, February 10: Mark Spitz, he of the seven gold medals, all won in world records, at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. Happy Birthday Mr. Spitz


Lennart van Haaften

“I figured six-for-six was infinitely better than six golds plus a silver or bronze”.

I can’t disagree more. Every additional medal or even an appearance in finals is a great achievement.

“I was thinking of scratching […] I knew my teammate, Jerry Heidenreich, was going to be very hard to beat.”

That’s a really disappointing mindset for an otherwise great champion. I’m very happy that swimmers like Thorpe (4th in 100 free in 2001, silver in 100 back in 2002, silver in 200 IM in 2003, bronze in 100 free in 2004) and Phelps (bronze in 200 free in 2004, outside the medals in 100/400 free 2005, several losses to Crocker, Lochte) were not afraid of losing.

Bad Anon

At rio2016 winning more than 2 individual medals will be exceptional.. 6 for 6 is now incredibly hard to beat ; the likes of leclos; hagino; ledecky; hosszu; franklin etc while extremely talented may not be able to win more than 3 individual medals each


LEGEND!!! Being Australian, I grew up with stories of Shane Gould and of course when Munich gets brought up, you read about the great feats of one Mark Spitz.

Viva la Bang

Spitz was great but Shane did not have the advantage of three great relay teams, and won 5 individual medals to Mark’s 4.

So Cal Swimmer

Absolutely, Viva. If only the Aussies would have had two strong relays (back then there was no 800 relay) then Shane would have had her own seven medals as well (though not all gold). I can only dream how much faster Shane would have been if her desire had remained red hot.

Bill Bell

While his 100-200 free wrs lasted only about a year until fellow American Jim Montgomeery broke ’em @ inaugural World Championships in Belgrade following September, his fly standards lasted through following Olympiad — and beyond in case of the 100 — which stood until August of ’77 when the USA s Joe Bottom splashed 54.18 in a dual-meet against the East Germans at East Berlin.

The 200 fly was first broken in June of ’76 by the GDR’s Roger Pyttel’s ( GDR Olympic Trials) when he became first man under 2:00.0 w/ his 1:59 plus.

But at the Montreal Olympics a month later Pyttel’s was a non-factor as USA’s Mike Bruner, Steve Gregg and Billy Forrester went a one, a two AND a three — one of several unprecedented Uncle Sam sweeps.

(Evidentially the good Dr. Kipke and his pal Manfred Ewald hadn’t yet figured out how to make Supermen to beat the vaunted Kapitalist Imperialist Yankees – only wundermadchen.)

One ( at least this one) has also always wondered how Spitz would have fared at Munich had he won four or five gold and set a like number of wrs @ Mexico City four years earlier — or had he not taken the money and ran after Munich but instead stuck around until Montreal?

Ah…the vagaries of history…by the same token what if Phelps had hung ’em up after Beijing (“Eight is enough!”)

And if Ledecky goes five-for-five at Rio w/a like number of wrs think she’ll return to The Farm?

Viva la Bang

Yes, and her coach Forbes Carlile was not training her in Munich, Don Talbott set the training for the Aussies in Munich, Shane had a few days with his wife Ursula , but the damage had been done for the 100m free, and she was sick before the 800m, but Mark was the king of Munich and Shane was the queen!

So Cal Swimmer

Yes, Viva, she was the queen who never went to her full potential. I still believe she could have been the first woman under 2:00 for the 200 free.

Rick amira coach

And all of those swims without wearing swim goggles if I recollect
And without special dolphin kicks under water
And without special non turbulent lanes
And without super weight training
Hmm… Still think if they swam in the same era , Spitz would give Phelps a close race


Bill, Spitz’s 100 free record lasted three years, till 1975, when it was broken by Jim Montgomery at the U.S. trials before the Cali World Championships. Spitz’s 200 free record lasted two years, being broken at the 1974 U.S. nationals by Tim Shaw. Only Spitz’s (and Kinsella’s and Tyler’s and Genter’s) 800 free relay record failed to make it past Belgrade 1973.

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