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Mark Spitz Biofile

Published by on August 2, 2012 filed under BioFiles   ·   Comments (0)
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Mark Spitz Biofile  | read this item

Status: All-time Olympic legend who won seven gold medals in swimming events in 1972 at Munich, Germany (an achievement only surpassed by Michael Phelps winning eight golds at the 2008 Olympics). Set 35 world records during his career. Also won one Olympic silver and bronze medal.

DOB: February 10, 1950 In: Modesto, CA

Childhood Hero: “Johnny Unitas.”

Nickname: “Speedy Gonzalez. Mark The Shark.”

Hobbies/Interests: “Sailing. Skiing. Collecting art.”

Greatest Sports Moment: “My greatest sports moment? Or a greatest sports moment? (Whatever comes to mind.) Winning the 100-meter freestyle in the Olympic Games in 1972. Because that was known as the speed event, the glamour event…the fastest man in the world event. I could have won nine gold medals, but if I didn’t win that gold, then somebody else would have been declared the ‘Fastest swimmer in the world.’ (Was it a close race?) Not really [laughs], but it was the last individual event. And it was my sixth gold medal. So, I’d already been spent. I’d already been swimming for like seven days.”

Most Painful Moment: “Losing the 100-meter butterfly at the Olympic Games in Mexico City (’68)…which was the reason I won seven (gold medals) four years later. That one race cost me a position on the relay which went on to win a gold medal. So I lost two gold medals. And then I was just heart-broken. And I just blew the 200 butterfly. So it was a three gold medal race thing that turned into a disaster. I got a silver medal and nothing else.”

Pre-Race Feeling: “I really didn’t have much feeling before a race. I had my gameplan so well mapped out that I just kind of thought about other things…like girls probably, what else?!”

Favorite Movies: “Ben-Hur, the chariot race. I like Titanic.”

Musical Tastes: “I like classical, Beethoven, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.”

Hobbies/Interests: “Sailing, ski, swim.”

Funny Racing Memory: “I think I was nine-years-old. I started out in lane three and finished in lane four. It was night time swimming and the lights were terrible. I didn’t get disqualified because I didn’t interfere with the other person (in Sacramento).”

Favorite Meal: “Prime rib.”

Favorite Breakfast Cereal: “Oatmeal with dark brown sugar.”

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: “Jamoca almond fudge.”

First Job: “Warehouse man for Levitz Furniture in Santa Clara in the summer of 1968 (Age 18).”

Toughest Competitors: “A guy named Jerry Heidenreich and Doug Russell. Doug Russell beat me in the Olympic Games for the gold medal for the 100-meter butterfly (’68). He was the reason why I kept on going for four more years. And Jerry Heidenreich was swimming in the 100 and 200 butterfly. He was a 200-meter freestyler. And he was the one who was knocking at the door to beat me in every race.”

Childhood Dream: “I was gonna be a dentist. And I went to dentist school. But I didn’t finish. I was making too much money and I was having too much fun and I was too young to realize the difference. But I don’t regret it, go with the flow.”

Favorite Athletes To Watch: “Michael Jordan – I had a chance to watch him in-person several times with my two sons. Michael Phelps. Football. Sampras. ESPN highlights.”

Family: Wife, Suzie; sons, Justin, Matthew.

People Quality Most Admired: “Integrity.”

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