who won 9 gold medals in the 1968 and 1972 Summer Olympics
, including a record 7 in the latter.
Spitz (DOB: 2/10/1950; Modesto, California) was one of the world's top swimmers by the time of the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. He was confident, and even cocky, predicting he'd win 6 gold medals. He didn't come close, but did win 2 golds as part of the American 4x100 freestyle and 4x200 freestyle relay teams. He also won an individual silver in the 100-meter butterfly and a bronze in the 100-meter freestyle.
The 1972 Munich Olympics was a different story, where he won a record 7 gold medals, ALL in world record times. He won gold in the 100 and 200 meter freestyle events, 100 and 200 meter butterfly, and as part of the three winning American relay teams (4x100 freesyle, 4x200 freestyle, and 4x100 medley).
The victories proved bittersweet, due to terrorists kidnapping and murdering 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team. Spitz, who was Jewish, was given heavy protection and flown out of Munich.
The total tally was 9 golds, 1 silver, and 1 bronze. The 9 golds are tied for the most all-time with American trackster Carl Lewis, Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi, and Soviet gymnast Larysa Latynina.
During his career, Spitz set 33 world records and was world swimmer of the year 3 times (1967, 1971, 1972). Spitz won the Sullivan Award as the top American amateur athlete in 1971. He was named Associated Press's Male Athlete of the Year in 1972.
In 1983, Spitz was named one of 20 charter members of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
In 1999, ESPN's SportsCentury selected Spitz as #33 on their list of the the 100 greatest North American athletes of the 20th century.