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He’d win 8 individual titles while also helping the Hoosiers win NCAA’s each year he was there. Spitz’ performance in 1972 was a perfect 7/7 in world records and gold medals.
While Phelps did break Spitz’ individual Games medal haul record, he didn’t quite match Spitz’ 7 Golds and 7 world records, with Phelps coming up short in the 100m butterfly. Along with Phyllis Diller, Dom De Luise and Don Rickles, Spitz roasted Ronald Reagan in 1973 on Dean Martin’s Celebrity Roast.
Where Johnny Weissmuller laid the tracks – the 100m freestyle champion won 6 Olympic titles in the 1920’s and became a Hollywood star in the 30’s and 40’s – Spitz ran off with it.
Appearances on various late night television shows followed, including , as well as a slew of endorsement deals.
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Mark Spitz may be synonymous amongst this generation as the guy who held “that record” before Michael Phelps came along, but for a generation Spitz was more than just the winningest Olympian of all time, he was also the first swimmer to make a transition into the world that is generally reserved for the major sports in the USA – the land of celebrities!
Olivier Poirier-Leroy is a former national level swimmer based out of Victoria, BC.
In feeding his passion for swimming, he has developed Your Swim Book, a powerful log book and goal setting guide made specifically for swimmers.In that race, which he narrowly out-touched Milorad Cavic for gold, Phelps missed Ian Crocker’s world record. Phelps would get a 7 WR in the medley relay on the last night, putting him 7/8 in world record attempts. Reagan wasn’t commander-in-chief then, he was Governor of California at the time. His moustache became a fashion trend amongst swimmers.When asked about his moustache by a Russian coach prior to the ’72 Olympics, Spitz’ reply was that his moustache didn’t slow him down, and that it even deflected water away from his mouth, providing the streamlining necessary to swim as fast as he had at the US Olympic Trials earlier that year.Already a swimming prodigy at the age of 14 – he’d already broken 17 NAG records – Spitz was sent to train with George Haines at the famed Santa Clara Swim Club.After completing his high school swimming in Santa Clara, as well as an Olympic appearance where he medaled four times, Spitz fell out with Haines in 1969, leaving to train with Doc Counsilman at Indiana University.According to Spitz, the following year “all male Russian swimmers had a moustache.” It’s a good look! He came close to settling for 6 golds and 6 world records.