Mark Spitzby Tyler Woods on Aug. 08, 2012, under Life
I have tuned into the Olympics daily. I enjoy some of the summer games. My favorite is swimming and diving. I have always liked to watch the water sports when it came time to the Olympics. I have to say it has been interesting watching Michael Phelps making history with all his gold medals and it got me thinking…
Phelps certainly may have established his name as a gold medal swimmer, but many of us who are in our 50′s, will never forget gold medal winner Mark Spitz. He won seven gold medals in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.
If you have not heard of him, say hello to Mark Spitz. He was a USA swimmer who not only took seven gold medals in 1972, he broke 7 world records that same year. He shattered record after record and was then, what Michael Phelps is today and that is a champion.
Several things stick out in my head about Mark Spitz. When I was about 13 years old, all the girls I went to school with had a crush on him. I mean they HAD A BIG CRUSH on him. I didn’t care what he looked like in his skimpy bikini bathing suit but many of my friends purchased his poster and had it on their bedroom wall. His posters with his seven gold medals were everywhere. He was on the cover of every magazine and newspaper. He was Everything and everywhere.
The other thing I recall was he everywhere on TV. He did commercials, and even started an acting career. The good news, his acting career did not last. A great swimmer, yes, and actor, not! I still recall when he had an appearance on a TV show called Emergency and he played the role of a man who accidentally shot his wife. I was not impressed with his acting and as a young teen knew the only reason he was on TV was he had the gold. Still, he was an awesome swimmer and deserved all the limelight he received.
I think what really sticks out in my mind with Mark Spitz was that he won his final competition and within just a few hours of winning, a group of Palestinian terrorists murdered 11 Israeli athletes. Spitz was hurried out of the country under heavy security and survived the ordeal. What I knew was that even as a young teen, I would never forget watching the TV in shock that this was happening. I think during those hours, we all were glued to the TV devastated that a terrorist act was happening at the Olympics.
That tragic event did not take away the glory Spitz earned for him and in 1999; Spitz was ranked number 33 on ESPN’s Sports Century 50 Greatest Athletes. More impressive, he was the only aquatic athlete to make this list.
Once out of the limelight, Mark Spitz started a real-estate company that was successful. He is a motivational speaker and still travels and speaks. What we need to remember is that he made history as an aquatic athlete. He won seven medals, broke seven records at the age of twenty-two, and deserves a place in memory lane.