Mark Andrew Spitz (born Friday, February 10, 1950) is an American swimmer. He holds the record for most gold medals won in a single Olympic Games (seven), which he set at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany. As of 2006, he is the only person ever to win the gold medal in every single event in which he entered that year, and created a new world record in every one of those events as well.
Holder of ten world records already, Spitz predicted brashly he would win six golds at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. However, he only won two team golds: the 4 x 100 meter freestyle and the 4 x 200 meter freestyle relays. In addition, Spitz finished second in the 100 m butterfly and third in the 100 m freestyle.
Disappointed in his Olympic performance, Spitz entered Indiana University to train with legendary coach Doc Counsilman, who was also his coach in Mexico City. At Indiana from 1968-1972, he was a pre-dental student, member of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity and won eight individual NCAA titles. In 1971, he won the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States. He was named World Swimmer of the Year in 1969, 1971 and 1972.
At the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich (West Germany), Spitz was back to maintain his bid for the six gold medals. He did even more, winning seven Olympic gold medals, a feat still unequalled by any other athlete in a single Olympiad. Further, Spitz set a new world record in each of the seven events (the 100 m freestyle, 200 m freestyle, 100 m butterfly, 200 m butterfly, 4 x 100 m freestyle, 4 x 200 m freestyle and the 4 x 100 m medley).
Spitz's accomplishments at Munich were overshadowed by the Palestinian terrorism attack, known as the Munich Massacre, that claimed the lives of 11 Israeli athletes (Spitz had previously spent time in Israel competing in the Maccabiah Games). In the immediate aftermath, security personnel whisked Spitz away from Munich.
Still only aged 22, Spitz retired from swimming after the Munich Games. His management tried to get him into show business while his name was still hot. In 1973 and 1974, Spitz appeared on such TV series as The Tonight Show, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour and Emergency! as paramedic Pete Barlow. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences considered hiring him as an Oscars host (despite the fact he hadn't made any films), and there was even talk Spitz might become the next James Bond (the role went to Roger Moore instead). But Spitz was clearly uncomfortable on camera, and he quickly ended his foray into show business.
At age 41, Spitz attempted to make a comeback in an attempt to qualify for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, after film maker Bud Greenspan had offered to pay him a million dollars if he succeeded in qualifying. Filmed by Greenspan's cameras, Spitz failed to beat the qualifying limit, despite the fact his times were nearly as good (and in some cases better) than his medal-winning turns 20 years earlier.