About Mark Andrew Spitz
Mark Andrew Spitz
- Born 10 Feb 1950 in Modesto, California USA.
- Son of Arnold Spitz and Lenore Sylvia Smith
American swimmer, winner of seven gold medal victories in one Olympiad. And, each of the gold medals was won while setting a World record.
He won 11 Olympic medals over two Olympic Games and 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 whisked out of the country under heavy security guard.
Four years earlier, at the 1968 Games in Mexico, he failed to win a single individual race, suffering the ignominy of coming last in the 200m butterfly final. However, Spitz won four Olympic medals in Mexico:
- 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),
- 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’.
The 1965 Maccabiah Games was Mark’s first international competition, and he returned to Israel in 1969, following the Mexico Olympics, to again compete in the Maccabiah. In all, Spitz won 10 Maccabiah gold medals.
Spitz retired immediately after the 1972 Games -
"There is something very depressing about being the best in the world at something," he said later. "I was programmed for all those years. I swam two and a half hours in the morning and two in the evening, maybe seven miles a day for six years, and during all those hours I'd think about getting out of the pool at the end of the session and how pleasant that was going to be. I loved to think about getting out."
Within months of the Games Spitz was advertising milk, swimming pools and electric shavers, and working on his own ranges of swimwear and leisurewear. He earned $6m over his first two years out of the pool. "It's like a game to see how much money I can make," he said. "It's just amazing to me. I thought I'd make enough to pay my way through dental school or something, but I guess I've caught on as a symbol or something."
Michael Phelps won eight gold medals in Beijing in 2008 and consigned Spitz's record to history. The former champion took his relegation stoically. "He is the single greatest Olympic athlete of all time now," Spitz said. "I always wondered what my feelings would be. I feel a tremendous load off my back."
Mark Spitz started a successful real-estate company in Beverly Hills and is currently self-employed as a corporate spokesperson and motivational speaker.
"His coach rated him "the best all-round swimmer in the world" and hoped at one stage that he might win as many as eight Olympic medals. Mark Spitz's own opinion of himself was only slightly lower, and he told the world that he expected six. "I analyse my status in each race objectively," he said in the build-up to the Games. "If I know I'm the best and feel it, and people then think I'm cocky, there's nothing I can do about it.""
The following Extract is from his official website-
"Mark was born the first of three children in Modesto, California to parents Arnold and Lenore Spitz. At age two, his family moved to Hawaii and he swam almost every day at Waikiki Beach. When Mark was just six years old, he began to compete at his local swim club. A few years later at the tender age of nine, he trained at Arden Hills Swim Club in Sacramento with Sherm Chavoor, the swimming coach who mentored him and six other Olympic medal winners. Before he was 10, Spitz held 17 national age-group records, and one world record. His family moved again when he was 14 years old, this time to train under George F. Haines of the Santa Clara Swim Club. During his four years there, Mark held national high school records in every stroke and in every distance. It was an unprecedented achievement.
The 1965 Maccabiah Games was Mark’s first international competition. At the age of 15, Spitz won four gold medals and was named most outstanding athlete. In 1966, at 16, he won the 100-meter butterfly at the National AAU Championships, the first of 24 AAU titles. Mark emerged on the world swimming stage when, in 1967, he set his first world record at a small California meet in the 400-meter freestyle. Also in 1967, Mark won five gold medals at the V Pan American Games in Winnipeg, and set a record that was not surpassed for 40 years.
In the 1968 Olympic Games, Mark won two team gold medals in the 4 x 100-eter freestyle and the 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay. After the Olympic Games, Spitz enrolled in Indiana University and trained with legendary coach Doc Counsilman, who was also his coach previously in Mexico City. While attending IU, Spitz won 8 individual NCAA titles. Then, in 1971, he won the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States. Following his various successes, Spitz was nicknamed “Mark the Shark” by his teammates.
One of the greatest living sports legends, Mark Spitz might be remembered best by his astonishing win of seven gold medals at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. In one of the most dramatic instances in Olympic history, Mark won his final competition only hours before Palestinian terrorists captured and eventually murdered 11 Israeli athletes in the Munich Olympic Village. In an effort to keep the athletes safe, Spitz was whisked out of the country under heavy security guard. In 1999, Spitz was ranked number 33 on ESPN’s “SportsCentury 50 Greatest Athletes,” and was the only aquatic athlete to make the list. His other achievements include inductions into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, the United States Olympic Hall of Fame, San Jose Sports Hall of Fame, National Jewish Museum Sports Hall of Fame, Long Beach City College Hall of Fame, and Indiana University Athletics Hall of Fame.
Mark Spitz is also well-known for having an iconic mustache throughout the Olympics. During a time when most swimmers were clean-shaven, Mark was rebellious and swam with facial hair. Most swimmers believe body hair slows a person down, but Mark called his mustache a “good luck piece” and kept it throughout his Olympic competitions.
After his impressive swimming career, Spitz went on to have an equally impressive career out of the pool. His biography, The Extraordinary Life of An Olympic Champion, gives insight into Mark’s remarkable journey. In 1972, soon after his return to the U.S., Spitz landed several endorsement deals. He has executed endorsements for Xerox, Kodak, Bausch & Lomb, John Hancock Financial Services, General Motors, General Mills, Swatch, and many others.
He later started a successful real-estate company in Beverly Hills. Mark is also a world-renown public speaker, and gives motivational speeches at various events. Mark will continue to be a very hot commodity as long as there is an Olympic Games somewhere in the world, or the desire by a group to hear from one of the greatest living legends of all-time in sports.
A devoted father and husband, legendary athlete, highly-respected motivational speaker and entrepreneur, Mark Spitz encompasses talent and enthusiasm in everything he does.
Mark Spitz, most notable athlete of all-time, is synonymous with excellence. His powerful swimming career launched him into fame, and gained him fans world-wide. During his career, Mark’s unparalleled abilities set him apart from the competition.
He was voted “Athlete of the century” in water sports and one of six “Greatest Olympians” by Sports Illustrated in 2000. 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 Championships. During those years, he set 33 World records".
'''Awards and accomplishments'''
- 1960 - wins seventeen national age group titles
- 1965 - Maccabiah Games, Tel Aviv, Israel - aged fifteen - won four gold medals
- 1966 - wins first of 24 national Amateur Athletic Union championships
- 1967 - World records in 400 meter freestyle, 100 meter butterfly, 200 meter butterfly events, five gold medals at Pam American Games; World Swimmer of the year
- 1968 - Individual bronze and silver medalist at Mexico City Olympics, gold in the 400 x 100 meter and 4 x 200 meter freestyle relays
- 1969 - Maccabiah Games, Tel Aviv, Israel won six gold medals; World swimmer of the year
- 1971 - Amateur Athletic Union's James E. Sullivan Memorial Award: World swimmer of the year, *1972 - World records in all seven events at Munich Olympics, first athlete to win seven Olympic gold medals in one Olympiad: World swimmer of the year: Associated Press Male Athlete of the year
- 1977 - Inducted into International Swimming Hall of Fame in Ft Lauderdale, Florida as an honour swimmer
- 1983 - Inducted into the US Olympic Hall of Fame, with first class of inductees
Publications - Biography
Mark Spitz: The Extraordinary Life of an Olympic Champion Santa Monica Press | 2008-07-01 | ISBN: 1595800395 | 360 pages | File type: PDF | 8,1 mb
My Own Story - Mark Spitz New York, Doubleday 1987